Visit the new FARNET 2014-2020 website

FEMER peau marine

Through cooperation with local fishermen and designers, and inspired by traditional techniques from other fishing communities in Europe, a young French entrepreneur has developed an innovative fish skin tanning process and now sells her “marine leather” to fashion designers all around the country.

This CLLD example is also available in:

suomi (fi)


As in many areas depending on small-scale fishing, communities in the Bassin d’Arcachon face social, economic and environmental challenges that put their heritage and future at risk. However, such communities can also navigate through these challenges by adapting to new contexts, needs and opportunities. With the combined support of Axis 4 of the EFF and the European Social Fund, Marielle Philip brought together her business skills, family heritage and innovative ideas to develop a new product, demonstrating the possibilities of circular fisheries economy.

The project aimed to develop an innovative tanning technique that would convert fish skin into a high grade leather for use in the fashion industry.

The project started as an Axis 4 co-financed study, which was carried out between 2012 – 2013. This brought together interested stakeholders and, with the assistance of local women, facilitated the testing of different tanning techniques, such as, for example, the use of invasive plant species as a natural tanning product. Local fishermen and seafood processors were involved in providing the raw material. After this preliminary study phase, a pilot production facility was set-up in 2013, with the assistance of the European Social Fund, and the first customers were identified. In November 2014, the company was formally established and the brand, Femer Peau Marine ©, was registered. In addition to the initial financial support, the FLAG was closely involved throughout the development of the project, helping the owner to make contacts and promote the product both locally and internationally. 

  • Results: The project resulted in the development of an innovative technique for tanning fish skin, using a local invasive plant, which is now a registered trademark (FEMER®, fish skin from Arcachon Bay). The company works with 40 craft workers, who purchase the FEMER® fish skin and develop new products that benefit from significant visibility in the media, both locally, nationally and at European level. Three people were involved in the project, one of which is a salaried position.
  • Transferability: The project highlights the potential of breaking down barriers between local entrepreneurs and more “traditional sectors”, which harbour a wealth of local resources and knowledge that can be adapted to create innovative products and ideas. It demonstrates how the circular economy can work in a coastal community: building on local fisheries resources, having a positive impact on the environment, and promoting sustainable and inclusive growth.
  • Lessons: The project relied heavily on the entrepreneurial dynamism of the promoter and the long-term support, through co-financing and coaching, of the local FLAG. It also benefitted from the networking opportunities offered by FARNET, for example, through the transfer of good practice from Finnish fisheries communities involved in FLAG Osterbotten, and active networking with other Axis 4 stakeholders during FARNET events. Difficulties encountered by the project included the absence of advance payment, which forced the project promoter to draw on personal funds before receiving Axis 4 support and map other grant sources. However, this helped the project promoter to gain visibility and confidence on her project.
  • Contribution to CLLD objective: (b)supporting diversification inside or outside commercial fisheries, lifelong learning and job creation in fisheries and aquaculture areas.

Total project cost and EU contribution

Total project cost (a+b):€10 085
  (a) FLAG grant (a1 + a2):€8 068
   (a1) EFF contribution: €4 034
   (a2) National co-financing:€4 034
  (b) Beneficiary contribution: €2 017
  Lead partner:€2 017
  (c) Other funds:Yes – ESF (for second phase, as separate pilot sub-project)


FLAG details                 

Marielle Philip                      

Groupe FEP AXE 4 Bassin d’Arcachon, France

Email : mariellephilip (at)


Email: fepbassindarcachon (at)

Telephone: +33 6 50 40 19 75


Telephone: +33 5 57 73 08 43






Social media accounts:      FLAG factsheet

Contact details:

       FLAG Manager: Aline Delamare
       Address: Groupe FEP AXE 4 Bassin d'Arcachon – Val de l'Eyre – SRC, 15 rue Barbotière, 33470 GUJAN MESTRAS, France

Discussions and cooperation

The project owner is interested in developing links and sharing ideas at EU level including other entrepreneurs and innovators. Cooperation needs and opportunities identified by the project include:

        • Linguistic exchanges to improve the English language skills of young, non-English native entrepreneurs;
        • Engaging with business schools to raise awareness of blue growth and the circular economy;
        • Developing Erasmus+ projects with the support of FLAGs.

Discuss and cooperate with this project on LinkedIn

Project information 

  • Official project title in Member State language: FEMER peau marine
  • Official project title translated into EN: FEMER marine skin
  • Implementation duration: Company officially created in November 2014. Activities are ongoing.
  • Case study date: September 2015

Key words: innovation; fisheries; circular economy; blue growth; entrepreneurship; jobs & growth; women; multifunding.