Fisheries Areas Network

Good Practice Project

Fish festivals strengthen ties between fishermen and the community

A series of festivals connects fishermen and aquaculture producers with the public, raising awareness of local fish, traditions and the marine habitat.
map of the nine Festival del Mare along Emilia-Romagna coast at Adriatic Sea


Fishermen and aquaculture farmers in Northeast Italy had not been taking advantage of cultural activities that served as attractions for tourists and the local community. Lack of participation in these events was a missed opportunity for the fishermen to connect with the public – who could be potential customers. It also meant that the public were poorly informed about fisheries heritage and local fish.  
Emilia-Romagna FLAG decided to replicate existing successful events to strengthen the bonds between fishermen and aquaculture farmers and the public. It organised nine fish festivals covering the 120km of coastline from Goro to Cattolica. All of the fish festivals had the same branding (Festival del Mare) and overarching theme, making it easier to gain media attention and publicity. Nevertheless, separate websites were set up for each festival. 
The FLAG supported the involvement of local fishermen and tourism operators and worked closely with professional event planners. The planners were encouraged to identify and include local heritage elements related to fisheries and aquaculture, such as related activities and scientific themes. These were presented at the festivals in interactive and engaging ways, including guided visits, lectures and video presentations. 
Fishermen were able to interact with festival-goers through cooking workshops, where the public could learn about region’s gastronomy, seasonality of seafood products and ways to use local lesser-known fish. Using the festivals to educate the public enhanced the image of local fishermen as promoters of the natural, social and cultural heritage of the sea. 

The FLAG has produced a video about the festivals.


Promoting social well-being and cultural heritage in fisheries and aquaculture areas, including fisheries, aquaculture and maritime cultural heritage


The nine festivals attracted more than 100 000 participants and involved 280 fishermen and aquaculture farmers. The project accounts for a total of 55 calendar days of events, 36 workshops, 44 guided visits, 25 cooking shows and a wealth of promotional materials (post cards, maps, brochures for local fish and aquaculture products). Social media reach was over one million.  


The municipalities in the nine areas where the festivals took place are interested in coordinating continued work in order to make the festivals regional, yearly events involving fishermen and tourism operators. There is scope to replicate the concept at the inter-regional, national or transnational level, while keeping the specific local characteristics of fish species, gastronomy and cultural heritage. 

Lessons & contribution to CLLD objectives: 

Fishermen and aquaculture farmers, via direct contact with consumers, gained trust and are willing to invest in improving the value and quality of their products (e.g. labelling and certification). Moreover, they see scope for increased cooperation within the sector and with the tourism industry. Consumers and tourists learned about less commercial species that were once part of local gastronomy; local maritime heritage; seasonality of seafood; and the marine environment. Bundling the events in a common calendar and using one brand increased media attention, made promotion easier and boosted interest in the region’s maritime cultural heritage. 


Total project cost €270 000
FLAG grant €270 000
  • EU contribution (EMFF): €135 000
  • 135 000

Project information

Timeframe of implementation From May 2018 to Nov 2018
Sea Basins
Type of area

Contact details

FLAG Contacts

Ms. Angela Nazzaruolo
+39 0533 57693
Publication date: 
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