The second Interregional Learning and Exchange of Experience Event (ILEEE) took place on March 27-28 in Paphos, Cyprus – hosted by Development Co. Paphos Aphrodite Ltd (ANETPA). 

At the two days ILEEE key stakeholders from all partner regions participated by exchanging their experience and knowledge on cultural heritage of fishing areas. Also, discussion was raised on different opportunities for attracting tourists and businesses through strengthening the cultural heritage of the fishing communities.

At the ILEEE key note speakers shared their observations regarding the (in)tangible maritime cultural heritage. More specifically, key note speakers shared the history of Cypriot fishing communities, how they made their living from the sea and how it affected the life and economy of the fishing villages. Also, the work done for the recording and preservation of the shipbuilding craft and the efforts done for teaching traditional shipbuilding by capitalizing the touristic and educational aspects of this heritage.

At the ILEEE the Fisheries Local Strategy of Paphos region was presented focusing on the measures that they need to be taken for preserving fishing culture in Paphos region. In particular, the new project that will be funded under the Local Strategy was presented. It is the fishing village, a project in an area that homes to a number of small streets and old traditional buildings that will be upgraded as part making the area more attractive, accessible and functional not only for local residents, but also for the thousands of foreign visitors and to promote the fishing culture.

The local fishermen were also present at the ILEEE sharing the old good times of the fishing profession. At the same time they discussed with the partneship the problems that they face nowadays. Problems such as the aging of the fishermen, the absence of young people in the profession, the shrinking of their income, the diminishing importance of the fishing occupation in the area and many other problems. They shared the view that by promoting cultural heritage it is a way to preserve the occupation of the fisherman.

At the ILEEE, best practices were presented from Cyprus, a business model specifically created for fishing tourism and the case of the Larnaca and Famagusta area where they approach the traditional fishing culture in an alternative way by mixing traditional fishing and tourism experience offering an alternative tourism product that respects and promotes the history of the fishing villages, traditional fishing methods and way of life.

Finally, at the ILEEE the partners and their stakeholders had the opportunity to visit the last shipyard in Paphos region that still is making ship vessels. The partners and their stakeholders had the opportunity to discuss with the owner about this craft that is one of those cultural practices and perceptions that remain unprotected on the island.

ILEEE experience by Riga PLanning Region

Representatives of Riga Planning Region, the Ministry of Agriculture of Latvia representatives and fishing community members from lamprey fishing company participated in the Interregional learning activities in Paphos. Partners shared their regional situation and challenges in fishing cultural heritage protection and best practice identification. To retain and promote fishing cultural heritage active economic fishing activities should be kept in the coast – it facilitates involvement of fishermen in fishing and production activities as well as serves as grounds for organizing events and activates to promote fishing cultural heritage – fisherman’s stories of past, fishing festivals and lamprey festivals, therefore, sustainable and balanced fishing economic activities should be promoted in the coast to also keep younger generation on the coast and heritage living. New media and technologies should be exploited to digitalize fishing cultural heritage and promote especially to younger generations to join it with adventure and experience gaining activities – diving, participating in the process of fishing, and culinary activities.