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Sofa Session - Boosting business along the fisheries value chain: Thessaloniki, Greece 18-20 October 2016

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1. Mobilising science for traceability, Noia, Spain   
Six fishermen’s associations (“cofradías”) collaborated with the research and bio-technology departments of Santiago University to develop a method for tracing the origin of Galician cockles. The project aims to establish an easy and transferable tool for fishermen and cockle gatherers to ensure traceability of Galician cockles, providing guarantees that the seeds used are indeed endogenous and can be better marketed with full assurances of origin or sustainability

2. Innovating on-board, Thy-Mors, Denmark  

This FLAG is supporting a local fisherman to become the first in Denmark to trial a new method for sorting, cleaning and packing line mussels directly on the harvest vessel while still at sea. This new technology should help the fishermen’s business become more competitive by significantly improving the quality of the product (thanks to more gentle processing) as well as the efficiency of the process.

3. Supporting the development of fisheries businesses, Galati, Romania  
This FLAG has brought fishermen together with researchers and economics students from a local university to support the development of new business initiatives.  The project provided fishermen with information on funding for entrepreneurship along with training and guidance on subjects, such as business plans, project development and viability. The project led to 40 business ideas being selected for technical support, eight of which have been presented to the FLAG for funding.
4. Hatchery and Incubator, Cornouaille, France 

In partnership with a local technology and innovation agency, the Cornouaille FLAG in France has brought together a research institute and an inter-municipal body to enlarge a local hatchery and set-up an incubator focusing on aquaculture start-ups and other biotechnology projects linked to fisheries. Local entrepreneurs will be able to take advantage of a space to test new ideas, along with scientific and technical support from the bio-technology department of Agrocampus. The FLAG has been instrumental in project development, mobilizing networks and funding, and communicating these new opportunities for the area.
5. Supporting businesses through microcredit, East Sardinia, Italy 
With access to credit identified in the previous period as a key barrier to business creation, this FLAG has worked with a private credit institution which has made money available to set up a rotating fund to make micro-credit accessible to local fisheries enterprises which would otherwise face difficulties in receiving loans. The fund, which provides loans of up to €25,000, allows small businesses to launch projects considerably faster than normal thanks to reduced bureaucracy as well as benefiting from a tailored support service.

6. Accessing Urban Markets, Emilia-Romagna Coast, Italy 
This LEADER project aims to increase the value of local products by organizing collective sales of its fisheries and agricultural products and by placing them in new markets. Building on the work of the FLAG to label its local fisheries products with the “Friend of the sea” sustainability mark, this project examines distribution models and provides commercial skills to local stakeholders for product placement. In particular, it works to tap into urban markets outside the LAG-FLAG area, such as Milan and Turin.

7. Cooperation among fishermen to broaden their customer base, Pontevedra, Spain is an online platform that promotes the area’s artisanal fisheries products, representing the range of stakeholders involved in marketing local fish in the area: small-scale fishermen, fishermen's associations, auctions, wholesalers, fishmongers and restaurants. With the support of the FLAG, the local “cofradías” received IT training and technical assistance to manage the platform. A brand, “pescadoartesanal”, was developed to promote certified fresh fish from the local auction which is now used by 10 restaurants and 20 fishmongers.   

8. Setting up a Producers Organisation, Opolszczyzna, Poland 
This FLAG is supporting its carp fishermen to develop joint processing and marketing of their products in order to take advantage of the critical mass that such collaboration offers. Investments will be funded by the producers, who have already carried out the initial feasibility study, while the FLAG will help with the promotional campaign. Moreover, it is helping carp producers from Opole join forces with carp producers from other areas in Poland in order to reach the minimum 25% of Polish carp production necessary to set up a Producers’ Organisation.