The FLAG is situated in the northern part of the Wielkopolska region around the Noteć river. More than half of the area is covered with forests and there are also many lakes and rivers. The natural assets of the area attract many tourists, especially for canoeing, birdwatching, angling, mushroom-gathering, horse-riding and hunting. There are about 50 fish farms (43 in ponds and 7 in lakes), these are mostly small, family fish farms producing mainly carp, but there are also farms with salmonid fish which benefit from the mountain-type streams. The fish farms use modern technologies, but their development is sometimes limited due to environmental concerns. Some farms have already diversified into other activities: they sell fish directly from the farm, offer fish dishes, accommodation or angling permits.
One of the key challenges is the ageing population; many fish farm owners are getting near to retirement age and there is a need to train and prepare successors. Some of the smaller fish farms will also need to find additional sources of income. Unemployment often affects people with low skills. The area is highly attractive from the tourism point of view but the number of businesses offering accommodation or tourist attractions is insufficient.
There are various protected areas, including the Drawno National Park, various reserves and protected landscape areas. Many sections of the area were included in Natura 2000 network.
The FLAG strategy aims to develop fisheries and tourism, especially aqua-tourism. In particular, the FLAG is planning to support projects that will:
Training for existing fishermen (on new technologies and solutions), future fishermen (successors) and potential employees of fish farms. This training could also include issues such as running a business, marketing and promotion, customer relations, sanitary requirements etc.;
The number of FLAG members has increased 2.5 times since the establishment of the partnership. There are nine members representing the public sector, 78 businesses – mainly from the fisheries and tourism sectors (53 members represent fish farms owners or employees and processing). There are also nine members representing NGOs (Polish Anglers’ Association branch in Pila, tourism associations etc.). Among FLAG members there are 68 inhabitants of the area and 39 people living outside the area who support the area’s development.