Fisheries Areas Network

Good Practice Project

Protecting the fish resources of Ventspils

A volunteer association of professional and recreational fishermen obtains support to combat illegal fishing and better monitor local fish stocks.


Northern Kurzeme is an important professional and leisure fishing area but, until recently, a lack of monitoring activities meant there was little knowledge of the impact of each activity on local fish resources. Indeed, there was only one fisheries inspector for the whole area (2 472 km²) and just 30 litres of fuel supply per month! The Ventspils Anglers Club, a volunteer association created in 2011, bringing together professional and leisure fishermen to ensure the protection of aquatic biodiversity, was keen to change this situation. 

The first step to success was to provide technical support for more active raids in inland and coastal waters to reduce illegal fishing activities and safeguard aquatic biodiversity. The project then aimed to promote the further development of the region while preserving its unique environment and enhancing the quality of life of local inhabitants.

With the support of the Northern Kurzeme FLAG and EFF Axis 4 funding, this volunteer association initiated different activities including the monitoring of recreational and commercial fishing activities and the repopulation of juveniles in the area. The project has also involved organising training courses for fishermen (e.g. on environmental issues and national fisheries legislation) to qualify as public fisheries inspectors. Furthermore,  the FLAG advised them on procurement procedures for purchasing monitoring equipment. Specific equipment was also purchased thanks to FLAG funding:

  • Boat equipment and a boat transfer trailer to ensure safe and efficient raids on rivers as well as on coastal waters.
  • Nature cameras placed in strategic spots, such as trout spawning areas in some rivers, to monitor human activities during the night especially in areas where illegal fishing activities often occur.
  • A device for night vision, so the camera could be used in full darkness as well as video recording in such conditions.

Since the end of the project, six fisheries inspectors have been trained and 165 inspection trips made. These have helped to remove: 119 inland water nets (6 565 metres worth); 300 metres of old fishing nets when cleaning the sea; nine fish traps; six illegal free-floating fishing devices; and numerous beaver dams on the spawning streams. The association has also become involved in the national policy-making process, preparing comments and suggesting amendments to foster more sustainable fishing policy. 

Various events have also been organised, including: 

  • Seminars on «Healthcare of trout rivers» for anglers, fishermen and other locals 
  • Lectures in local schools on the local water resources and fair fishing activity.
  • Annual local angling competition. The number of participants is rising each year. 

This kind of project could be relevant in other FLAG areas where tensions exist between professional and recreational fishers and where targeted fish stocks suffer. However, it is dependent on a real willingness to protect local resources and in this case has been reliant on volunteering work of local fishermen (professional and recreational).

Lessons & contribution to CLLD objectives: 

Lessons: A willingness of local people to get involved and dedicate their free time to protecting local resources has been fundamental to the project’s success. The fact that the area can now count on seven, instead of one, fisheries inspectors has made a clear difference to the area’s monitoring capacity.


Total project cost €22 000
FLAG grant €19 800
Beneficiary contribution €2 200

Project information

Timeframe of implementation From Jan 2012 to Jan 2013
Sea Basins
Type of area

Contact details

FLAG Contacts

Ms. Gunta Abaja
+371 29 172 814
Publication date: 
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