The fishing sector in Cyprus is facing a crisis since the fish stocks are diminishing and as a result the fishermen see their income reduced day by day. Especially, for some small coastal communities which rely on the fishing sector for income and food and whose cultural heritage is based on a way of life that has not changed for years, it is a particularly serious problem. There is no magic solution for intercepting this crisis, however one practice that has gained popularity around the world for its positive economic and cultural effects in the fisheries areas is the Fishing Tourism.
Recently Cyprus has adopted a new regulation for fishing vessels with professional coastal license in order to allow fishermen to carry passengers and demonstrate fishing methods, observe fishing activity and in general provide fishery-related tourism services. Fishermen will be able to operate in the Fishing Tourism sector provided that their vessels are certified by the Shipping Deputy Ministry for compliance with the relevant regulations. To exercise Fishing Tourism they also need to pass an education course of 116 hours covering the themes of navigation, functional control and possible emergencies at the sea, control of the ships' functions and the care of the people on board, radio communications, safety, accident prevention and risk assessment, crowd Management, fishing tourism requirements.
The Flag Paphos (Development Co. Pafos Aphrodite Ltd) gaining the experience from the participation in the CHERISH project and specifically from the good practice Pesca Tourism that was presented and experience in the Interregional Learning and Exchange of Experience Event in Pescara, Italy, started the efforts to include in the Local Fisheries Strategy a new call for projects for Fishing Tourism. Finally, after a lot of discussion with the stakeholders and the Managing authority the new call for projects was prepared and approved, and it was launched on the 4th of March 2020 with a total budget of 300.000€. The call was open until the end of July and is covering all the costs for making the relevant restructuring and modernization of fishing vessels, to meet the regulations. More specifically, it covers investments for security, health, hygiene and improving working conditions of the fishing vessels. In total 32 projects have been submitted and now we are in the process of the evaluation. It is expected that the projects will start their implementation in the beginning of November.