A consumer preference for marine fish can put excessive pressure of certain stocks, while forgetting that local lake species are often more abundant and can be equally tasty. Two Lithuanian FLAGs have teamed up to animate traditional fishing festivals in different regions of the country: a summer festival in Šilutė and a winter festival in Ignalina aimed at getting different stakeholders from the fisheries sector to exchange knowledge and share and their fishing techniques and culinary traditions with their community. The events brought together fishermen and families of all ages.
The winter fishing festival showcased typical seasonal fishing methods, including ice fishing, used in different lakes in Lithuania as well as offering sports competitions and concerts. Freshwater fish meals were prepared following traditional recipes, which children could eat for free. At the “fish soup cooking championship”, 57 teams competed in preparing classic dishes. Participants were all given a share of the fish soup.
More than 400 participants attended these two festivals, increasing awareness about local fish species and the cultural heritage of the area.
During the first event, 30 representatives of the LAG organised a 2-hour educational session on the culinary heritage of the Ignalina region and provided more than 100 free portions of an ancient authentic recipe for inland freshwater fish soup;
At the second, FLAGs promoted the traditions of winter fishing, demonstrating the ancient method of "bobos” rotation, and organised an educational programme for kids and families on the local freshwater fish and traditional ways to cook them. Around 50L of fish soup and more than 10KG of fish dishes were prepared.
This kind of event could be adapted to promote local fish species and fisheries heritage in most areas where consumption of local fish is low and where traditional fishing activities still exist.
Lessons & contribution to CLLD objectives:
Lessons: Even though both FLAGs involved were from Lithuania, distance can be a challenge in any cooperation project. Building close and cooperative relationships is fundamental to overcoming this.
Contribution to CLLD objective: Promoting social well-being and cultural heritage in fisheries and aquaculture areas.