The island of Fuerteventura is the second largest of the Canary Islands and includes the 4.8Km2 islet of Lobos. It has a low, sandy coastline resulting from intense erosion. The activities that traditionally occupied the local population (agriculture, including cattle farming, and fishing) now provide employment to scarcely 1.2% of the population, while three quarters of jobs are linked to the service sector, and in particular tourism.
Employment in marine fishing has very little weight in the overall economy, accounting for just 131 registered workers. Fishing in Fuerteventura is small-scale, characterised by small boats with limited engine power and fuel consumption and crews often made up of family members of friends. Many of these boats are polyvalent, given the impressive diversity of marine ecosystems.
Some of the challenges that the area and sector faces is how to improve the marketing of (and therefore value derived from) its local catch, 80% of which is currently sole wholesale outside the island. Public awareness of the local fishing sector and the qualities of the local fish is low and the island also grapples with a need to improve local skills and yet a lack of training centres on the island.
Fuerteventura boasts a series of protected areas with regional, national, European and worldwide recognition. Twelve natural sites are part of the Canaries network of protected areas, while 12 Special Areas of Conservation and 9 Special Protection Areas, designated respectively under the Habitats Directive and Birds Directive are part of the European Natura 2000 network. A significant part of the island is also recognised as a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
The FLAG has prioritised the following areas of action:
The FLAG is interested in cooperation projects linked to:
The FLAG has 18 members in its General Assembly, including the provincial government (Cabilido de Fuerteventura), three “cofradias” (fishing organisations), the island’s biosphere reserve, a women’s association and Fuerteventura’s trade union of public sector workers. These seven members make up the decision-making board.
Other members include: the island’s five Town Halls; Fuerteventura’s association of volunteers; the Institute of Nature and Industrial Applications (I.C.E.N.A); the environmental association, AGONANE; the Marine Bio and Technology company, Oceomic S.L.; the Fuerteventura sailing club; and an association of people with disabilities.