Local fishermen fishing in the nearshore of the Baltic Sea, which is a marine reserve and a NATURA 2000 site, took an initiative to build a fishing harbour .
In 2014, some local fishermen fishing in the nearshore of the Baltic Sea, which is a marine reserve and a NATURA 2000 site, took an initiative to build a fishing harbour on the Baltic Sea coast, which is prone to coastal erosion due to its geology and exposure to westerly winds. Therefore, the construction of the harbour would have threatened coastal stability and integrity. The harbour would have also increased a negative impact from gill nets on the nearshore seal and wintering bird populations. EUCC Baltic Office staff and experts work actively with the Seaside Regional Park Administration and local fishermen explaining the environmental risks of their plans. After evaluating the needs of the fishermen and the marine nature conservation needs, EUCC Baltic Office has suggested a compromise: to abandon the plans of building a fishing harbour, to reduce the number of gill nets and, as a compensation, to install a slipway for the small-scale fishing and leisure boats on the beach.
The amount of financial resources used and the human resources required to set up and to run the practice was within the range of 2000 € to 5000 € co-financed by the IMPACT project and the State Service of Protected Areas of Lithuania.
Evidence of success
The good practice is in the search and delivery of a win-win conflict resolution concerning a priority issue of Lithuania’s environmental policy in relation to the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The slipway will do less impact on the coast than the anticipated construction of the fishing harbour. As a result of the negotiations among the stakeholders, instead of gillnetting, the local fishermen will be able to offer more lucrative and less damaging marine leisure angling services.
The main lesson learned during the implementation of the practice is that the key to success is in active involvement of the local community, the administration of the protected area, and the council of local municipality.
Potential for learning or transfer
Although the practice is still not transferred to other protected areas participating in the IMPACT project, nevertheless we consider it as being potentially interesting for other regions to learn from because it is based on a very typical case study: the challenge to find a ‘win-win’ solution for a situation with conflicting interests among different stakeholders within the same area which is important both for local welfare and for nature conservation. Round table discussions and negotiations among the stakeholders facilitated by a third party (EUCC Baltic Office) have succeeded in convincing local fishermen as the key interest group, on the gradual replacement of commercial fisheries with angling services which could provide them with higher income and this served as the main motivation to change their mind. Also, the role of the municipal council, which has rejected the plans to construct a large harbour on the coast, was pivotal for the success of the practice.
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