The FLAG is made up of three municipalities (San Vicente de la Barquera, Comillas and Suances) in the region of Cantabria, in which protected areas represent 53% of the FLAG territory. The service sector represents 70% of jobs and the hospitality industry is predominant. Despite the long-standing tradition of fishing in the area, fisheries only account for 1.5% of the area’s total employment.
The regions fishing fleet comprises 31 vessels with are mainly used for coastal fishing. The largest fleet in the territory belongs to the port of San Vicente de la Barquera, which is home to many of the area’s vessels (18) and has the largest working crew of 110 individuals. The Bay of Biscay is the main fishing destination and catches include anchovy, mackerel and bogue.
Challenges to the FLAG area include the diversification of fisheries activities and professions into other sectors such as tourism. Other challenges include developing local markets for less desirable catches such as bogue, adding value through the creation of shorter supply chains; building ties and relationships with local tourism enterprises such as restaurants.
The FLAG covers the Oyambre’s Dunes and the Western Rías, which are included in the list of sites of community importance (SCI) under the Habitats Directive (Natura 2000) and the Oyambre Natural Park.
The main objectives of the Western Cantabria FLAG include:
Transmitting know-how through cooperation projects.
There is a coordinated management of both LEADER (under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) and CLLD under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. This involves common goals and staff as well as a common methodology.
Project examples and ideas for the Western Cantabria FLAG will be focused on the following themes:
The FLAG operates an open call for projects. Project proposals can be submitted throughout the year and are selected on an ad hoc basis.
The town halls of San Vicente de la Barquera, Comillas and Suances, the fishing organisations of San Vicente de la Barquera, Nuestra Señora del Carmen and Santo Cristo del Amparo, Western Cantabria’s aquaculture association, Western Cantabria’s association for the promotion of the fishing sector, and the Galatea’s Sports Club.