The FLAG area includes the coast, rivers, and lakes along the Gulf of Bothnia, roughly 200km north of Stockholm. The landscape is dominated by pine woodlands and many inhabitants live in smaller towns and in rural areas.
The area has many small-scale fisheries located in several picturesque fishing villages. The fishermen mostly catch, prepare, and sell herring, salmon, and whitefish to local markets. Recreational fishing in freshwater of pike, perch, and zander is popular among locals and attracts anglers from all over Europe.
Challenges for the FLAG include the rising average age of fishermen and those working in the sector; attracting younger generations to the industry is difficult. Maintaining fish stocks as a sustainable future resource is also a challenge, as are finding new ways to increase and stimulate sustainable blue growth
There are 152 Natura 2000 protected areas in the FLAG territory coving a total area of 477km2. The FLAG area also has more than 189 nature reserve areas, two national parks and a biosphere reserve area
The FLAG strategy seeks to create new networks between different stakeholders in the industry. In tandem with this, environmental actions and education for sustainable fish management are also envisaged for the development of the area. The focus here will be on sustainable business development in the small-scale fisheries sector.
The FLAG also wishes to combat the demographic challenge in the sector by getting more young people interested in fishing and the wider industry.
Co-financing comes from the Swedish Board of Agriculture, the regional development authority, and local municipalities.
Several project ideas are centred around how to decrease the detrimental impact of seals on small-scale coastal fisheries, a current problem in the area. More specifically, ‘Fishing in Nedre Dalälven’ is a project aimed at improving the networking between different stakeholders along the River Dalälven, to increase awareness of and inspire sustainable fisheries management.
The FLAG welcomes applications all year-round, budget permitting. The FLAG selects projects for funding four times a year and requires the applications to be completed approximately four weeks ahead. The deadline for each call for projects is published on the FLAG website:
The FLAG is particularly interested in getting young people more involved in the sector. There is also a strong desire to see more co-operation with other FLAGs and CLLD groups in the Baltic area.
The LAG/FLAG group contains one representative for small-scale fisheries and one for fisheries management. There is also an external group of fish experts from private, public and NGOs sectors that represent the bigger geographical fishing area and serves the LAG with expert opinion