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Axis 4 in Finland

The Finnish delivery system is moderately centralised, but remarkably efficient. FLAGs animate and select projects, but the final approval and payments are done through the regional offices of the Intermediate Body. Thanks to close proximity and trust between the IB and the FLAGs, projects can be approved within six weeks of submission to a FLAG, sometimes even less. Finnish FLAGs have used existing organisations as their legal entities which take on most administrative tasks, leaving the FLAG employees free to focus on mobilising and supporting local stakeholders to develop projects that can benefit fisheries and the territory.


Guidance for Member States on community-led local development - updated

On the 6 February 2013, the European Commission invited around 150 delegates from managing authorities and ministries dealing with the EFF, EAFRD, ERDF and ESF to a meeting to discuss a draft guidance document on community-led local development (CLLD). The document is designed to help Member States to promote CLLD and improve coordination between the four funds. At the meeting, Ernesto Penas Lado, a Director at DG MARE, stressed the importance of CLLD in supporting the local search for solutions to the difficulties faced by the fisheries sector and for opportunities in the area of blue growth. Elisa Roller, Head of Unit, also provided recommendations for improving delivery and “keeping it simple”. A key message for FLAGs and Axis 4 managing authorities is to be proactive in ensuring their needs are reflected in the new Partnership Agreements, which will define how CLLD is delivered in each Member State. More details

What is Axis 4?


An introduction to Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund                                            
The Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) provides support for the sustainable development of fisheries areas. It supports measures to promote economic diversification and an improved quality of life in areas affected by a decline in fishing activities. An important innovation in the implementation of Axis 4 is the emphasis on the territorial approach, which encourages a focus on specific areas and seeks to mobilise local actors from all sectors: public, private and civil society, to work together as FLAGs (Fisheries Local Action Groups) to design and implement integrated local development strategies.   

"Positioning FLAGs for the Future: Fisheries Communities at the Heart of Local Development": Quiberon, France - 13-15th November 2012

Organised at the initiative of DG Mare of the European Commission and with the support of the French Directorate for Sea Fisheries and Aquaculture, this seminar attracted aproximately 150 Axis 4 stakeholders from around Europe and, in particular, board members of the Fisheries Local Action Groups. As FLAGs continue to gain experience in fostering local development in their areas, this transnational seminar offered an opportunity to take stock of some of the emerging results and lessons from Axis 4 and aimed to help them position themselves to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the future. Given the increased prominence of Community-Led Local Development in the new EMFF and other EU funding programmes, this seminar was designed to help FLAGs get the best results out of the current period and help them prepare for the future.

Work on a series of case studies and project visits engaged participants in an analysis of what Axis 4 can offer to fisheries communities and the roles which FLAGs can and should be playing in working with others to address the challenges and opportunities facing their territories.

What are your views on the proposed European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)?

On 14 March, the Commission presented a Staff Working Paper on the "Common Strategic Framework" (CSF) which sets the main investment priorities and key actions for programmes for the 2014-2020 period.

The proposals aim to make it easier to combine various funds so as to maximise the impact of EU investments. For the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, the Common Strategic Framework is a key document, as it lays out the ways in which the EMFF will work in coordination with the other funds to achieve the economic diversification, social cohesion and environmental sustainability in fisheries dependent communities.

This consultation is an excellent opportunity for FLAGs and all FARNET stakeholders to share their opinion on this proposal, and work together for the evolution of Axis 4.

Comments on the CSF may be sent to the European Commission by e-mail at REGIO-CSF(at)  

More information:

Improving coordination of EU funds: cooperation between Leader LAGs and FARNET FLAGs

In a recent draft regulation, the European Commission has proposed that four major funds should work together in the next period to support “community led local development” following the lines of the LEADER model. The Commission argues that community led local development (CLLD) “will be a powerful tool… as it can mobilize and involve local communities and organizations as well as citizens to fully contribute to national and European wide objectives”. Right now, over a hundred of Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) are already working hand in hand with LEADER local action groups (LAGs) to promote more sustainable paths of development in their areas. Their experience offers many lessons for the future.

OURCOAST: promoting Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe

OURCOAST is a three-year project commissioned by the Directorate General (DG) Environment of the European Commission to support and ensure the exchange of experiences and best practices in coastal planning and management.



Study on regional social and economic impacts of change in fisheries-dependent communities

With Axis 4 of the EFF, the Common Fisheries Policy has widened its scope to address socio-economic development of local and regional communities depending on the fisheries sector. However, there is currently a scarcity of knowledge about how policy changes (both within the sector and more widely) have affected coastal communities dependent on fisheries in recent years, how important other factors have been as drivers of change, or indeed how communities have adapted and responded to change. 

FARNET Newsletter 2010-09

  • FSU celebrates a successful first year
  • Stakeholders “focus” on Axis 4 in Bulgaria
  • Adding value to local fisheries products
  • FLAG selection gets underway in Belgium and Italy
  • Work begins on local strategies in Romania
  • Progress on Axis 4 implementation in Italy
  • New guides for FLAGs
  • Forthcoming events and activities
  • State of Play: 124 FLAGs with approved strategies
  • Poland a key testing ground for Axis 4

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Women as key “innovators” in fisheries areas

Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, highlights the role of women as “key innovators in fisheries areas, “contributing enormously to efforts to diversify and add-value to the work of fishing communities.”Addressing a hearing in the European Parliament on 1 December 2010 on "Women and the sustainable development of fisheries areas", Commissioner Damanaki emphasised that this was precisely what Axis 4 of the EFF aimed to support and she encouraged women and women's organisations “to get involved in local partnerships” and to “make use of funds to add value to local fisheries products or to start businesses in sectors such as tourism, food or renewable energy.”

Over 100,000 women are already employed in the fisheries sector in the EU, but the Commissioner warned that many women were not officially registered and their role was often confined to low grade, unskilled tasks, with limited access to decision-making. To tackle these issues, she highlighted the need for better representation of women in decision making processes, and for improved networking and exchange at local, regional, national and European level.