Lake Vänern is the largest lake in Sweden, the largest lake in the European Union and the third-largest lake in Europe after Ladoga and Onega in Russia. It is situated in the provinces of Västergötland, Dalsland, and Värmland in the southwest of the country. The lake is important for sports fishing tourism and common catches include salmon, trout and zander. There are about 70 licensed small-scale fishermen in the area.
Challenges for the region include an ageing population, particularly in fisheries communities. Other challenges include the need for diversification of fisheries activities and the improvement and development of local markets for fisheries products. The Lake Vänern FLAG hopes to work on product development, processing, marketing and environmental efforts focused on the protection of the lakes fish stocks.
The FLAG territory includes several protected nature conservation areas, many of which are Natura 2000 sites.
The FLAG’s local development strategy is focused on three main areas:
Product development, processing, marketing – This area includes efforts for the improvement of market contacts in order to increase profitability, the value of processing and strengthening the area’s fisheries.
Environmental protection – A sustainable ecosystem is a fundamental base for the development of the area’s fisheries. This will include reducing environmental issues, the improvement of the reproduction capacity of specific species, and the monitoring of fishing stocks.
Capacity building and cooperation – Good knowledge and relations between different actors in the fisheries sector are necessary for achieving growth and development. The FLAG would like to facilitate a dialogue between scientists and different actors within the fisheries sector to nurture innovation.
Calls for projects will be issued on an ongoing basis. More information can be found on the FLAG website.
The FLAG has experience and expertise in sports fishing tourism which it is willing to share with other FLAGs. The FLAG is also interested in cooperation projects with other Swedish FLAGs focused on putting more local fish in local restaurants.
FLAG members include representatives from three of the local municipalities, a regional representative from Västra Götaland and two fisheries actors including Länsstyrelsen Värmland and four private NGOs.