The Småøerne FLAG covers 11 islands scattered throughout the seas around Denmark. This is an important change as the FLAG previously covered all 27 islands of the Småøerne LEADER LAG. However, due to budget cuts for CLLD funding and an area reduction as outlined in the fisheries Operational Programme, the FLAG now focuses on specially designated areas experiencing both a decline in population and a decrease in fisheries employment.
A key characteristic of these islands is their very low population levels which range between 10 to 900 inhabitants per island. Their small size and population imply a rather limited set of economic opportunities based mainly on agriculture as most of the islands have fertile soil. Tourism is also strong as many islands have appealing assets such as sandy beaches, well preserved heritage and fishing activities.
The overall challenges for the island’s fisheries community include a dwindling and ageing population, poor infrastructure and public services and limited possibilities for business development. Since 2007, the FLAG has worked with these fisheries communities to try to make them more vibrant and attractive. For example they have diversified the local economies and developed new products, as shows the Axis 4 project supporting the production of edible seaweed.
Almost all islands are covered by Natura 2000 sites (Egholm, Venø, Anholt, Hjortø, Agersø, Omø and parts of Strynø and Sejerø)
The FLAG strategy aims to strengthen business development in the maritime economy, in particular maritime tourism.
More specifically the FLAG actions will focus on:
The Smaoerne FLAG members have in depth experience in small-scale coastal fisheries and project management.
The FLAG is planning to have three cooperation projects within Denmark, themes and budget have yet to be specified.
All municipalities and regions are represented in the board by two individuals. Two more FLAG members come from the fishermen’s organisations from the Fur and Sejerø island respectively. The others members of the board are individual members and represent local islands associations, a national islands organisation, private companies and local development NGOs.