Visit the new FARNET 2014-2020 website

From bio-fuels to fisheries promotion: FLAG Österbotten and FLAG Côte Basque-Sud Landes working together

At the end of May, a delegation from Ostrobothnia, Finland, travelled to the Basque region of southwest France to explore opportunities for cooperation around common themes linked to the fisheries and biofuels sectors.
The group, which included two representatives of the Österbotten FLAG and seven members of the personnel from the Novia University of Applied Sciences in Vaasa, was hosted by Mr Frédéric Perrin, the director of the French institute for pure vegetable oils (Institut Français des Huiles Végétales Pures), IFHVP. The visit included meetings with the Côte Basque-Sud Landes FLAG in Saint Jean de Luz and a visit to the Lycée Maritime de Ciboure. The group also visited the University of Deusto in Bilbao and the fish auction in Saint Jean de Luz, and met with the leader of Adour Landes Océane, one of the two Pays represented on the Côte Basque-Sud Landes FLAG.


Download the report: a few months after this visit, the Novia University completed and published a study on the potential of biofuels in small scale fisheries. The report is available in Swedish  and English 


During the visit, the delegation learned about the work of the IFHVP in the area of bio-oils. The IFHVP has developed a scheme whereby a group of sunflower farmers are contracted to set aside a small amount of land for the production of bio-oil. This bio-oil is then cold pressed and passed through a very fine filter, which means it can be used as a fuel without the need for additives.

The sunflower growers benefit from the sale of the bio-oil, and they can also use the resultant by-products as an animal feed. This is more economical than purchasing imported feed and is an important argument when discussing which raw materials should be used in the production of bio-oils.

Up until now, this bio-oil has been used as a fuel in the vehicles of a waste management company (Bizi Garbia), as well as in two smaller fishing vessels. For use in the fishing vessels, a parallel diesel-biofuel system is used. The motors are started and warmed with diesel, but when the correct temperature is reached the module automatically switches to biofuel. So far, the fishing vessels have run for more than 5000 hours on bio-oil without difficulty. At the moment, the price of bio-oil is still higher than diesel, but it is expected that this will soon be reversed in favor of bio-oils, opening up a bigger market opportunity.

The visit attracted considerable media attention in France, with interviews conducted for both newspapers and television. The visiting delegation also see great potential for future cooperation, especially in relation to the development of bio-oils. In the Ostrobothnia region, animal waste products are used to produce bio-oil, which is then further refined into biodiesel through the addition of certain chemicals. This was, until now, considered necessary from a safety perspective. A group from France is planning a visit to Ostrobothnia in the spring of 2014. In addition to biofuels, other issues that were discussed include pesca-tourism, small-scale fish processing, the small-scale direct selling of fish and the dissemination of information on fishing through events and festivals.


This article was written by Guy Svanbäck and edited by the FSU.


1. Frédéric Perrin demonstrates the module installed in fishing vessels using bio-oils.
2. The fish are arranged according to fishing vessel at the fish auction in Saint Jean de Luz.
3. The Lapurdi is one of the fishing vessels running on pure bio-oil.
4. Line fishing is one of the most important fishing methods for smaller fishing vessels in the region.
5. The Finnish representatives are guided around the fish auction in Saint Jean de Luz by François Gallet, Manager of the Côte Basque-Sud Landes FLAG.