Fisheries Areas Network

Country Factsheet

Finland - 10 FLAGs - 9.5 M€

Finland’s fisheries areas face several challenges. These include a decline in the number of commercial fishermen; the vulnerability of the fisheries sector to market fluctuations; an increase in the seal and cormorant populations in coastal areas; environmental degradation, especially eutrophication in the Baltic Sea; and competition between commercial fishing, recreational fishing and environmental conservation. The 10 Finnish FLAGs focus on boosting and optimising activities throughout the entire value chain; promoting innovation across sectoral boundaries, creating new ways of thinking and doing business, while also ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources; and encouraging cooperation.

CLLD Programme

CLLD Context: 

Fishing is an important commercial and recreational activity. In 2012, there were about 1 500 fishing businesses, with the vast majority (97%) owning a single vessel. The fisheries sector has 295 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. The total revenue generated by the Finnish fleet in 2014 was €52 million. The total value of the fisheries sector is about €900 million per annum.

The aquaculture sector employs a further 349 FTEs.

Contact details of the managing authority can be found here.

More information about national EMFF programmes can be found here.


Axis 4 achievements (2007-2013): 

During Axis 4 (EFF), Finland had eight FLAGs in total: five coastal FLAGs (including the autonomous Åland islands) and three inland FLAGs, in the lake districts in the East and North of the country.

Achievements of Axis 4:

  • FLAGs were able to bring new thinking to, and involve new actors in the EFF programme implementation;
  • Cooperation between different actors increased, and this has been the most important qualitative result of CLLD. Interest groups that previously did not have much interaction now sit at the same table. Cooperation between professional fishermen, environmentalists and researchers has been improving;
  • FLAG projects often had a catalytic effect, leading to larger scale business investments or development projects.

An evaluation of the EFF Axis 4 activities for this period concluded that the "new" approach was successful in terms of the development and renewal of fisheries areas: 58% of project promoters said they could not have implemented their projects without FLAG support, and those who could have, were able to do things on a bigger scale.

CLLD objectives and challenges for 2014-2020: 

The main challenges that community-led local development will have to address in Finland’s fisheries areas in the coming years include:

  • A decline in the number of commercial fishermen, which could lead to a situation where this valuable natural resources is underutilised;
  • The vulnerability of the fisheries sector to market fluctuations;
  • Low profitability in some fisheries sectors;
  • An increase in the seal and cormorant populations in coastal areas;
  • Environmental degradation, especially eutrophication in the Baltic Sea;
  • Conflicts with other stakeholders; with commercial fisheries often competing with recreational fishing and environmental conservation.

To cope with these challenges, the objectives of the Finnish Operational Programme 2014-2020 are:

  • to foster competitiveness, renewal and adaptation of the fisheries sector, and
  • to enhance cooperation between regional actors, interest groups and LAGs.

The objective of CLLD for this period is to support these strategic goals in the local context, including by:

  • boosting and optimising activities throughout the entire value chain;
  • promoting innovation across sectoral boundaries, creating new ways of thinking and doing business, while also ensuring the sustainable use of the natural resources;
  • Encouraging and supporting open-mindedness, cooperation, continuous know-how development and calculated risk taking, which are the cornerstones of the fisheries CLLD strategy.

The number of FLAGs have been increased to ten. They include the former eight FLAGs, whose strategies have been selected for this period as well, plus two new groups that fill in geographical gaps on the south-west coast and archipelago side, and in the inland Lake Päijänne area. Compared to 2007-2013, the total budget for CLLD has been increased slightly, so the average budget per FLAG remains similar. 

CLLD Budget

Total budget: 
€9 520 000
  • EMFF budget for CLLD: 
    €3 986 734
  • Co-funding: 
    €5 533 266
  • Proportion of CLLD in EMFF budget: 
Number of FLAGs: 
Average budget per FLAG: 
€952 000

National Network

The fisheries network will be hosted by the National Rural Network / Agency for Rural Affairs, which is meant to ensure good coordination, cost efficiency and other synergies between the two networks.

The total budget for the fisheries network for the whole programming period is €900 000.

The network aims at:

  • Improving internal and external networking by fostering synergies within and outside the fisheries sector;
  • Promoting good cooperation and developing new partnerships / consortiums, especially in the Baltic Sea area, benefitting Finnish fisheries;
  • Strengthening the visibility and improving the image of Finnish fisheries, its products and know-how;
  • Acting as an ‘innovation broker’, including by providing development and advisory services;
  • Communicating information on the implementation and results of the EMFF OP. This task is very broad, with a national and international scope. On the international level, the main focus is the Baltic Sea area.
  • Supporting FLAGs by organising needs-based training, and by facilitating the exchange of good practices and partner searches in Finland and abroad.
  • Supporting the fisheries authorities: organise events e.g. seminars and training related to the delivery of the EMFF OP.
  • Participating in the activities of the EU’s fisheries area network (FARNET).

Click here for the National Network contact details.


For the EMFF funding period, 12 cooperation projects were reported by the managing authority by December 2021. These included a large-scale cooperation project between Baltic FLAGs to increase the knowledge on the impact of growing seal and cormorant populations on small-scale coastal fisheries as well as projects to exchange knowledge and experience, for example on specific fishing gear with fishers in Poland and on fisheries and cultural heritage with young people in Estonia and Finland.

For information on how cooperation was programmed and organised in Finland, click here. 

Delivery of CLLD

The funding application process: 

For the moment, Finland is not implementing a multi-fund approach for CLLD. However, in most cases, FLAGs and LAGs do share the same offices and administrative support costs, which allows for good synergies.


Code Name Region Surface area (km²) Population Population density (per km²) Employment in fisheries*
FI201 Bothnian Bay / Perämeri FLAG
Ostrobothnia Region
10591 357994 34 660
FI202 Ostrobothnia FLAG
6750 160000 24 628
FI203 Bothnian Sea and Lake Pyhäjärvi FLAG
Southwest Finland
4671 181000 39 245
FI204 Archipelago Sea / Saaristomeri FLAG 7967 370000 61 660
FI205 South Finland / Etelä-Suomi FLAG 14141 855000 60 489
FI206 East Finland / Itä-Suomi FLAG 329 702446 10 450
FI207 Lapland FLAG
35579 27400 1 100
FI208 Kainuu-Koillismaa FLAG
Ostrobothnia Region
154 37894 246 120
FI209 Central Finland FLAG 24385 571650 23 115
FI210 Åland FLAG 13325 28983 19 399
(*)according to the information received from the FLAG


Publication date: 
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