The FLAG area has been selected because of its wide geographical range and its potential to benefit as many small fishing communities as possible. The local fishery has an extremely diverse range of fish and shellfish species. There is an established aquaculture sector and the area has one of the largest concentrations of fishing vessels of under 10 metres in length in the country.
The area attracts visitors who come to enjoy the coast and the harbours. The ports are hubs of activity within communities. The fishing industry has adapted over the years, not only to available stocks and commercial demand, but also to the infrastructure and facilities available.
There is a lack of young people joining the sector. Other challenges include competition from larger vessels and the sector not being seen as economically viable due to high start-up costs and increased regulatory processes. The aging infrastructure and outdated equipment of the ports and harbours is a very common concern among fishermen.
The FLAG area has two Marine Conservation Zones, three Marine Special Areas of Conservation and one Marine Protected Area (Chesil Beach to Stannis Ledges) as well as the adjacent Poole Harbour Special Protection Area.
The Community Led Local Development Strategy was created using a bottom-up approach and hosting workshops with the community to assess the needs of the area and the priorities of the FLAG. From these workshops, interviews and research in the area, we identified the following priorities:
The FLAG operates on an open call basis; however, the FLAG board meets for project consideration every 10 weeks. Expressions of Interests can be submitted at any time via firstname.lastname@example.org
The FLAG membership includes five local councils, five fishermen’s’ associations, three private companies working in fisheries, the two local Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authorities, the Marine Management Organisation, the Dorset Coast Forum and the Dorset Wildlife Trust.