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FLAG FI207 - Lapland

Country: Finland                                                  Region: Lapland

Area: The main lake areas of Lapland                     Code: FI207

Operational: 2007-2013 and 2014-2020 programming period ( 2007-2013 as Northern and Eastern Lapland)

Name of the FLAG in Finnish: Lapin kalatalouden toimintaryhmä




Description of the area and its main challenges

Lapland is the northernmost part of the EU. During long winters (usually six months) the lakes are covered with a 60-80 cm thick layer of ice. Short summers are busy with nights illuminated by the midnight sun. The population density is very low, and the number of inhabitants is declining in most areas. The unemployment rates are high, between 13-18%. Tourism is flourishing, however, providing a growing market for local products. Around 10% of the population is employed in primary production (forestry, farming, reindeer husbandry, fisheries) and there is significant potential to develop fisheries due to the abundance of fish stocks in the area’s lakes, a good demand for fish, and excellent water quality. The challenge is recruiting young people into the fisheries sector.

In the FLAG, there are 80 registered fishermen of whom 40 are full-time professionals, three fish processing companies, and three aquaculture companies. The demand for high quality freshwater fish is very good but the main challenge for fishermen is to increase the volume produced and to provide a reliable delivery system.

Population: 27 400                                                       Surface [area/km²]: 35 579

Population Density [Inhabitants/ km²]: 0.77              Coastal or inland: Inland (3 660 km² of lakes)

Protected areas: There are no protected waterways, except for some spatial and temporal fishing restrictions to protect migrating salmon species. Some of the large national parks and nature reserves are protected wilderness areas.

Employment in fisheries: 90                                         Fishing:  70

Aquaculture: 10                                                             Processing: 10

Women employed in fisheries: 5

Short summary of the FLAG strategy

The main objectives of the strategy are to improve the profitability and viability of the fisheries sector and to maximise the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources. With an ageing workforce, the average age of fishermen being ca. 55 years in some areas, it is essential to attract young people into fisheries in order to secure the future of the sector. More specifically, the strategy will aim to:

  • Strengthen cooperation in marketing and in developing fishing techniques;
  • Develop local infrastructure (e.g. processing facilities for fish);
  • Improve the attractiveness of employment in the fisheries sector (e.g. by promoting new sources of income like fishing tourism);
  • Increase the professional skills of fishermen (e.g. in fish processing and in business economics).


Objectives Priority (1 is low, 5 is very high) % of the budget allocated to them in the strategy
Adding value, creating jobs, and promoting innovation along the fisheries chain537
Supporting diversification430
Enhancing and capitalising on environmental assets10
Promoting social well being and cultural heritage10
Strengthening the role of fisheries communities in local development533



Project examples and ideas

  • Training course for young people interested in starting a professional career in fishing (cooperation with employment agencies, municipalities and education centers);
  • Training in fish processing for fishermen using new facilities (fishermen’s cooperatives, advisory organisations, education centers);
  • Study trips within the FLAG area for fishermen, as fishermen have different fishing methods in different parts of the area (fishermen’s cooperatives).

Calls for projects

Projects can be presented and selected on an ongoing basis.

Thematic expertise and cooperation

The fishermen in Lapland have developed efficient and cost-effective fishing techniques, both for the winter and the open water season. The fish caught in Lapland is well-known for its high quality, as the fishermen handle the fish properly along the whole chain, from lake to market. There are also some well-functioning fishermen’s cooperatives.  Fishermen in this area would be interested in learning how tourism can be combined with fisheries in the most profitable way.

Type of cooperation projects foreseen

Transnational: Sharing our expertise in fishing techniques and fish processing with other inland FLAGs.

Budget available for cooperation [€]: 40 000

Lead partner or Responsible Legal Entity:

LAG Northernmost Lapland

Other key actors/organisations in the partnership

Municipalities of Inari, Sodankylä, Kemijärvi and Pello; Lapland Fisheries Advisory Organisation; four fishermen’s cooperatives in all four municipalities (The Arctic Char of Aurora Borealis Area,  Lokka Nature Resources Cooperative, The Wild Trout of Lapland  and the fishermen’s cooperative of Pello) and the Sámi Education Center.  

% of public actors (on the decision-making body):40

% of fisheries actors: 40

% of other (non-fisheries) private / NGO sector actors: 20

% of environmental actors 0

Number of individuals/organisations in partnership/ general assembly: 10

Number of individuals on main decision-making body/ board: 10

Links with LEADER or other CLLD groups:

FLAG territory is the same as (or overlaps with) one or several CLLD territory/territories

FLAG territory overlaps with two LAG territories.


FLAG shares its legal structure with a Leader LAG/CLLD group

FLAG shares its legal structure with the Leader LAG Northernmost Lapland.


FLAG shares certain board members with a Leader LAG/CLLD group

FLAG shares one board member with the Leader LAG Northernmost Lapland.


FLAG and LAG have a common local development strategy (with separate sections for EMFF/ EAFRD/ other ESI funds)

FLAG and LAGs have separate local development strategies.


FLAG coordinates its work informally with nearby LEADER LAG(s) – how?

The FLAG coordinates its work informally with the LAGs by having frequent discussions with the LAG personnel and the FLAG manager participates in the board meetings of the LAGs when necessary.



Budget information

Total public budget allocated to the FLAG for 2014-2020 [€]: 983 000

EMFF [€]: 409 500

Member State co-financing [€]: 573 500

Source of co-financing :national €465 500 and municipal €108 000

Planned private funding: €539 000 

Contact information

President/Chair:Eero Liekonen

FLAG Manager: Markku Ahonen

Email: markku.ahonen (at)

Telephone: +358407046094

Postal address:

Pohjoisimman Lapin Leader, Sairaalantie 3 B, FIN-99800 Ivalo, Finland

FLAG website:

Number of contracted staff in FLAG [FTE]: 1

Language information: Finnish, English, Swedish