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Mar Galaica: coordinating & promoting fisheries-related tourism - FLAG Noia - ES

Mar Galaica is an ambitious project which brings together the fisheries sector and other key maritime stakeholders to create an integrated tourism package along the Galician coast, promoting local fisheries products and heritage while offering an authentic taste of the region’s fishing communities. Its comprehensive website was launched in the FLAG area with 57 fisheries companies offering 97 different tourism products and subsequently extended to the whole Galician coast.

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The decreasing profitability of fisheries in Galicia, and difficulties to attract people to the activity, highlighted a need for the sector to re-consider both its image and its potential as a viable business for the future, in particular small scale fisheries. What was started by a dynamic fishing organisation (cofradía) in Lira was developed by the local FLAG into a fully-fledged strategy to identify, mobilise, coordinate and promote the entire area’s coastal and fisheries heritage.

Work started to identify and convince fisheries related businesses to take part in the project and offer tourist services and products ranging from fisheries related activities, to fish restaurants to accommodation. A series of training courses was then organised to provide fishermen and other actors with the skills necessary to work with visitors, and a quality charter - known as the “Fisterra Standard” - was developed. The final part of the project aimed to promote and market the area’s fisheries tourism offer through work with tourist operators, an annual “sea gastronomy” campaign, printed promotional material and the website www.margalaica.net offering an online menu of coastal fisheries resources, complete with reservation system.

Key lessons

>Relevance to FARNET themes: Diversification towards tourism, capacity building for fisheries sector professionals, cooperation between fisheries and other sectors.

>Effectiveness/efficiency: Mar Galaica has been effective at developing both the concept of “fisheries tourism” in Galicia and a number of concrete tourism products which are now part of the region’s touristic offer and identity. In the first year of the project, Mar Galaica mobilised 57 local fisheries companies to become members of what it calls a “product club”, offering a total of 97 different fisheries-related products. Moreover, by integrating fisheries professionals into the decision-making board of this product club, Mar Galaica has helped to foster a new way of thinking of the local fisheries sector and by the fisheries sector.

A total of 150 people have been trained: approximately 90 fishermen, shellfish gatherers and net workers in customer service for fisheries related tourism; 50 people from the horeca sector as part of a campaign to promote seafood products; 12 people from the horeca sector on the specificities of local fisheries products. 30 000 brochures were produced and distributed in the tourist offices, hotels and restaurants throughout the area as well as beyond, such as in hotels of nearby cities, supermarkets outside the region and at specific fairs and events. The Mar Galaica website was built to promote these products and has so far received 30 550 visitors. The reservation system was launched in 2013 and has so far seen 250 reservations, including for packages of products (e.g. weekends including hotel, activities and meal).

>Transferability: Another testament to the success of Mar Galaica is the fact that it has been extended along the whole coast of Galicia, first to Mariña Ortegal’s FLAG area and then, in 2012, to the 5 remaining Galician FLAG areas. Mar Galaica has also been playing a leading role in national level discussions led by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment (MAGRAMA) to develop a Spanish “fisheries tourism club”. Five Spanish regions are committed to the project, including Andalusia, Valencia, Catalonia and Asturias, and the working model developed by Mar Galaica is providing a model for similar work in other regions.

>Final Comment: The project continues to encourage regional and national administrations to develop an adequate legal and fiscal framework for fisheries-related tourism. One example is an effort to ensure regulations are developed to facilitate pesca-tourism, the practice of taking tourists on board professional fishing boats. Such legal and administrative conditions are vital to any success that mobilisation, product development and promotional actions can have.

                                          

Total cost and EFF contribution

Total project cost: €154 809.82

                >€61 714.00 improving fisheries tourism strategy
                >€67 199.82 developing the Mar Galaica “product club”
                >€17 896.00 fisheries tourism customer service course for fishermen
                >€  8 000.00 training for the horeca sector

Axis 4 contribution: €116 107.36 (75%)
National/ regional co-financing: €38 702.45 (25%)

Project information:

Title: MarGalaica
Duration: 2010 - 2013
Case study date: November 2013

Project promoter
Fistera - Ría Muros - Noia FLAG
Manuela Oviedo
gac4 (at) accioncosteira.es
+34 638 033 467
www.accioncosteira.es/?q=node/124

Fistera - Ría Muros - Noia FLAG factsheet