The coastal and inland rural area of “Hügelland am Ostseestrand” is located on the Baltic coast of Schleswig-Holstein around the Bay of “Eckernförde”, an important fisheries area. It is close to Kiel; the capital of Schleswig-Holstein and the Kiel canal borders the region in the south.
“Hügelland am Ostseestrand” is an “Aktiv-Region”, a status used in Schleswig-Holstein for territories implementing the LEADER approach under EAFRD as well as the EMFF-funded local development strategies (LDS). It is, therefore both a LEADER LAG and a FLAG.
Tourism strongly influences the FLAG area with many seaside resorts located around the Baltic coast. A key holiday destination is the town of Eckernförde and its surroundings. The preservation of local traditions and crafts linked with fishing and fish products supports the tourism industry and helps promote the area among the inhabitants and guests of Eckernförde.
Most of the catch, which includes cod, plaice, herring, salmon and mackerel, is landed in Eckernförde and Strande. Some are sold directly, however, the majority of the catch is sent unprocessed to auctions in Hamburg and Bremen.
The main challenge for the fisheries sector is to raise awareness of problems like sea pollution. Additionally, legal restrictions limiting the bycatch and the quota of caught fish make the fisheries sector more unattractive to new and old fishermen.
The FLAG has one main protected area, Naturpark Hüttener Berge, with a surface area of about 22 km². There are also some small areas with Natura 2000 protection status (special areas of conservation)
The FLAG strategy was developed in connection with the integrated development strategy of the Aktiv-Region for LEADER and pursues the following goals:
he FLAG decision-making body schedules project selection meetings when required
The FLAG has experience in working on the protection of harbour porpoises (“Schweinswale”; Phocoena phocoena, which used to regularly get entangled in fishing nets). The co-operative project protects the harbour porpoise in the bay of Eckernförde, involving professional and non-professional fishermen on a volountary basis. The aim is to satbilise and grow the harbour porpoise population between Kappeln and Kiel to sustainable levels. This project is implemented in parallel with an advertisement campaign for the tourism of the region because harbour porpoises have the potential to become popular icons in the Baltic region of Schemewig- Holstein.
No specific cooperation projects have been envisaged so far, but the FLAG is looking for an exchange of ideas, for example, in marketing and selling fish in the harbour area or the use of old craftsmanship such as smoked fish.
Members of the FLAG decision making board include individual fishermen, the mayor of Strande, the tourism board of Eckernförde, the environmental info centre for the Baltic Sea, other environmental actors and the volunteers of a cultural heritage NGO.