Inshore fishermen gathered in a coöperation to share fishing rights, contract projects for research and nature management and marketing fish.
The coöperation is an extension of the individual companies, for doing just what’s done better with combined forces.
All members commit themselves to the focus points of ‘integrated fishing’.
‘Vissers van de Kust’ (‘Fishermen along Shore’) stands for responsible use and good management of coastal waters.
Sharing fishings rights
The existing system of individual transferable fishing rights hinders responsible inshore fishing. More than anything it’s being flexible , changing gear and/of target species when a stock is in decline, which is the key to integrating fishing in the natural maritime food-chaine. The coöperation ‘Vissers van de Kust’ creates possibilities to enhance flexibility and resilience in inshore fishing.
One of our fundaments is coöperative sharing and managing fishing rights like quota and licencies for certain gear types. Because we don’t want this to lead to a groupwise higher catching capacity, a reduction factor is substracted from all rights that are shared by different members of the group. In a management scheme the fishermen lay down criteria and agreements on how to fish, when and when not. All this is based on the ‘Compass’; an evolving database of scientific and every day fisheries expertise, which serves in adjusting to the natural processes in the sea. Scientists and nature conservationists are involved in building and ‘adjusting the Compass’.
The combined fishing rights that are contributed by the participating fishermen don’t suffice the transition of all members to flexible as well as thriving little fishing companies. That’s why the coöperation will also hire or purchase quota and licencies from outside the group. Members with an approved exploitation plan can hire these rights. But there is an even more important aim in this: preserving fishing rights for the regional inshore fishing community!
Ecosystem management , monitoring and research
The coöperation acts as a contractor of work in monitoring , research or management of nature and fish-stocks. A number of members is trained for this and has an accreditation for monitoring conform guidelines of the European Directive for Water Managament.
Fishermen are often the first who experience changes in fish stocks or the coastal landscape. It’s often difficult for them to make these experiencies effective. And, in the case of unapproved developments you witnessed, there’s the fear of harming your own business by sharing it with the world, even if you’re not the cause of it.
More mutual trust and coöperation between fishermen and conservationists can work out well for wetlands, shores and coastal waters. That’s why the cooperation will put great effort in management, monitoring and research for estuaries, coastal- and inland waters.
‘Fishermen along Shore’ (‘Vissers van de Kust’)
There can be a good future for fishermen working with small boats in there own ‘home waters’, if they coöperate with colleagues. For small companies a mixture of several seasonal fisheries is the key stone for a healthy business. For the village and its harbour it brings an attractive variety of activities and a wider range of freshly caught products.
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