Croatia’s objectives for the implementation of CLLD in fisheries include the sustainable economic development of coastal and island communities by adding value to fisheries-linked activities, and diversifying activities from other sectors This, in turn, should creates employment; strengthen small-scale infrastructure development; and strengthen fishing communities’ awareness of the need to protect the environment, nature and biodiversity. Croatian FLAGs (currently 14) were selected for the first time in 2017 by the Ministry for Agriculture.
The traditional Mediterranean style of life and the marine orientation of the Croatian economy are strongly influenced by tourism development. Traditional marine occupations include ship-building and repair, fisheries and short-distance sea shipping. The main fishing harbours are Biograd, Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Šibenik and Split. The deep shallow bay makes the ecosystem of the Adriatic Sea a highly sensitive one. Preservation of high water quality of the Eastern Adriatic, reflected in its biodiversity as well as in the quality of sea products, is of utmost importance for both tourism and the environment.
Yearly catches and production of sea food (fish, crustaceans, oysters and other molluscs and shellfish) amount to 84 229 tonnes (2015) 80% of this is pelagic fish, mostly sardines. The fishing fleet consists of more than seven thousand vessels, a major part (over 90%) are under 12 m in length. The proportion of sport and recreational fishing in the sea waters is rising. In 2017, 3 408 persons got a licence for small scale coastal fishing.
The number of permanently employed persons in the sector of fisheries is estimated at 14 000 and with those seasonally employed it reaches 25 000 people.
A two page summary of the Operational Programme including contact details of the Managing Authority is available at the following link.
An overview of Croatia’s EMFF programme is available at the following link.
Croatia decided not to have FLAGs in the previous programming period, having only joined the EU in July 2013.
According to the OP 2014-2020 objectives of the implementation of local development strategies in fisheries are:
In 2017, the year of approval of first Croatian FLAGs, it is too early to summarise and evaluate objectives and challenges included in their strategies.
Regardless of their territorial correspondence or overlapping, the implementation of LAG and FLAG strategies is mono-funded. In achieving the CLLD objectives, the EFMM OP takes into account the complementarity with other ESI funds (EAFRD, ERDF, ESF and the Cohesion Fund) as well as coordination between different funds and instruments.
The Croatian MA has decided to create a membership-based network which includes FLAGs, potential FLAGs and other fisheries CLLD actors. The call for membership was launched in February 2016 based on the Ordinance on a National network of local action groups in fisheries and remains open at the NN website. The network support unit operating within the MA is verifying and confirming members. The network consists mainly of FLAGs, although other entities (e.g. fisheries cooperatives or regional development agencies) can also be members.
The network aims to provide assistance in implementation of measures supporting CLLD within the OP 2014-2020. Its tasks encompass the distribution of information, capacity building, exchange of best practices, support to FLAG cooperation within Croatia and promotion of CLLD.
The budget for operations and activity of the NN from Technical Assistance of the EMFF amounts to €1.01 million, 75% of which from the EU and 25% from the national budget.
Members of the managing board, including president and vice-president, are elected by NN members and formally nominated by the Minister of Agriculture. The first general meeting was held in Rabac (Istria) in October 2017 within the framework of a traditional fisheries fair.
In practice most networking activities (e.g. workshops and seminars for the FLAGs) are organised by the EMFF Managing Authority.
Croatian FLAGs were selected for the first time in 2017 by the Ministry for Agriculture within the OP 2014-2020. In the period preceding the approval of the Croatian OP 2014-2020 in November 2015, potential FLAGs were established along the Adriatic coast and on islands. Their legal form was ‘association’ as regulated by the national law on associations and their names started with “FLAG”. These “local initiatives in fisheries” followed the path and experience of LEADER LAGs approved by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2013 under the pre-accession IPARD Programme. Contrary to the initially planned seven FLAGs corresponding to seven Adriatic counties, a double number of initiatives have been activated based on affiliation of local communities and their need to share the task of local development with their neighbours.
In line with the expectations expressed in the OP 2014-2020, the majority of local initiatives in fisheries were initiated by neighbouring or overlapping LAGs and strengthened through the direct transfer of their experience. According to the OP, “the LAG managers had proven themselves in communication, cooperation and participation as competent advisers and transmitters of knowledge on the CLLD approach in fisheries in relations with all the stakeholders within the eligible areas and especially those from the sectors of fisheries and aquaculture.”
The potential FLAGs had access to preparatory support to develop their strategies. The process of approval of local development strategies (LDS) had two rounds:
The Directorate of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture in line with its status of the MA approves the fisheries local development strategies, while the act of FLAG recognition is to be signed by the Minister of Agriculture.
|Code||Name||Region||Surface area (km²)||Population||Population density (per km²)||Employment in fisheries*|
|HR201||Pinna Nobilis FLAG||367||26152||71|
|HR202||Istarski Svoj FLAG||456||34351||75|
|HR203||Istarska Batana FLAG||
Primorje-Gorski Kotar County
|HR206||Vela Vrata FLAG||650||28290||44||125|
|HR208||Tri Mora FLAG||924||20988||23||278|
|HR209||Plodovi Mora FLAG||3570||82917||23||7500|
|HR214||Juzni Jadran FLAG||792||36147||46||230|