Visit the new FARNET 2014-2020 website

FLAG factsheet - Finland - Northern and Eastern Lapland

Offical name: 
Pohjois- ja Itä- Lappi
Northern and Eastern Lapland
Click to enlarge
Description of the area and its main challenges

Lapland is the mythical North of Europe, the gently rolling landscape of blue mountains and hills, a home for the reindeer, the Santa Claus and the midnight sun. Tourism is a growing industry in the area and is helping to create new markets for local products such as fish, reindeer meat and wild berries. However, the area faces some significant challenges in terms of a declining population and high unemployment rates (18-20%). Fisheries offers great potential thanks to the area´s numerous lakes with high quality water and valuable, underexploited fish stocks, eg. whitefish (Coregonus), pike, perch, trout. The greatest problem, however, is the high average age of entrepreneurs in the sector. Fishing does not attract young people, and there are few newcomers.

Population: 25 500 Employment in fisheries: 80 people

Surface area/km²: 33 500 Coastal or inland: inland, (3 000 km2 of lakes) 

Population Density/ Inhabitants/ km²: 0.75 Protected areas: none, just some small spatial and temporal fishing restrictions in river mouths


Main focus of FLAG strategy

The strategy prioritises the following aims:

- To enhance the competitiveness and profitability of fisheries by increasing the business competence and cooperation of fishermen.

- To improve infrastructure such as fishing harbours and fish processing facilities for primary producers.To secure the continuation of fisheries by raising the attractiveness of livelihood, e.g. by introducing secondary occupations like fishing tourism.

- To ensure maximal sustainable exploitation of fish resources.

Environmental Management (1-5, where 5 is high priority and 1 is low priority) : 2

Improving the competitiveness of the fisheries sector (1-5) : 5

Diversification into other activities (1-5) : 4

Project examples and ideas

- “Income from tourism" - a training project in fishing tourism for commercial fishermen in Sodankylä. (Municipality of Sodankylä 2010)     

- Founding a fishermen's cooperative in Veskoniemi fishing harbour, Inari, and providing training in food hygiene legislation and HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control point) in fish processing (Lapland Fisheries advisory organisation 2009-2010) 

- Training the commercial fishermen in Sodankylä to build and repair big fyke nets for whitefish fishing and finding new economic uses for roach and ide that come as a side catch (Municipality on Sodankylä and Finnish Forest and Park Service 2009-2010)                 


Lead Partner/Responsible Legal Entity :  The Northernmost Lapland LEADER LAG

Other key actors/organisations in the partnership : Fishermen, fishermen's cooperatives, advisory organisations, Finnish Forest and Park Service (administers waters owned by the State of Finland, the main water area owner in Sodankylä and Inari municipalities) 

Links with LEADER : The Northernmost Lapland LEADER LAG administrates the FLAG

% of public actors : 40

% of fisheries actors : 60

% of other (non-fisheries) private / NGO sector actors : 0

% of environmental actors : 0

Number of individuals/organisations in partnership : 80/10

Number of individuals on main decision-making body : 11

Number of contracted staff in FLAG : 1


Total public funding 2007-2013 : € 616 000 (2008-2011)

EFF : € 240 800

Other public : € 375 200 (€ 319 200 national funds & € 56 000 from local municipalities)

FLAG Manager: 
Mr. Markku Ahonen
Other contact: 
President: Mr. Eero Liekonen
Pohjois- ja Itä-Lapin kalatalousryhmä, Sairaalantie 3 b, FIN-99800 IVALO, Finland
markku.ahonen ( at )
+358 40 704 6094
+358 16 687 465
Languages spoken: 
Finnish, English, Swedish (and a little Sami)