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The human touch for open communication

A year prior to the launch of her Axis 4 supported research on social relationships and communication in fisheries communities, Monica Palladino was on holiday on the Costa Viola, a part of the Calabrian coast hosting several fisheries strongholds.

There, she came to the conclusion that, if she was to understand the fishermen’s professional relationships, she would herself need to become part of their network... So, with an open mind and a willingness to understand, Monica’s first move was to literally move into the fishing community.
Pursuing her research in close relationship with the local FLAG that supported her, Monica managed to approach 54 of the 128 local fishermen, 26 of them took part in an in-depth interview. Her analysis enabled her to map information flows and highlighted the quality and intensity of relationships in the fisheries community. But it also revealed a paradox: despite a dense network of acquaintances and a predominance of trust among fishermen, the exchange of professional information was limited due to a number of communication blockages, which could be solved with the help of the FLAG.

To solve such blockages and support the FLAG in improving its actions in the future, the study produced a series of recommendations to increase opportunities for developing common projects, which would help improve information flows, encourage more efficient use of the limited financial resources devoted to fisheries development and increase the effectiveness of existing and future fisheries policy and management.

This project was therefore a “win-win” situation, where researchers benefited from the FLAG’s support, the FLAG from the results of the research and fishermen from more targeted support from the FLAG.
The research work also shows that carrying out such studies during the planning phase of a FLAG can help identify those strategic actors that should be involved in the planning and implementation of fisheries CLLD as well as the best information channels to be used. As a result, the FLAG can ensure a strategy that responds better to the specific needs of the area, maximizing opportunities for the whole community.

The results and conclusions of this work have been published in June 2016 in a peer reviewed article and are accessible at this link: Relational Capital in Fishing Communities: The Case of the “Stretto” Coast FLAG Area in Southern Italy

Quote from the project promoter, Monica Palladino: “I was told I would face ‘unfriendly people’, ‘not willing or used to communicate’, but instead I met with a community ready to share their stories, life and struggle with the sea. I debunked a myth!”



                                                            Positive trust dominates (blue lines)                    …but information flow is scarce.


Project information

Lead/Coordinating organisation: Mediterranea University of Reggio Calabria

Project location: Tyrrhenian coast of the district of Reggio Calabria, Calabria, Italy

Timeframe of implementation: March - November 2015

Total project cost: €50 000 (30% of which devoted to this particular research)

EU contribution (EFF Axis 4): €29 500.60

Other public contribution: €20 500.40

FLAG supporting the project: Stretto Coast FLAG

Project website: