Fisheries Areas Network

Good Practice Short Story

Fish traps - an alternative to gillnet-fishing in German Baltic Sea waters?

By engaging local fishermen in the development and testing of environmentally-friendly fish traps, the Baltic Sea FLAG is paving the way for sustainable fisheries along its coast in a wider context of adding value to the local catch.
“A lively, healthy and diverse Baltic Sea - which we do not exploit but use gently. In this perspective we support the development and use of fish traps in collaboration with different stakeholders – a win-win situation for all.”
Uwe Sturm, FLAG Manager

For several years, fishermen, fishery scientists and environmental NGOs in Germany have been working together on possible alternative gear to gillnets in so-called “conflict areas” (marine protected areas and/or important feeding areas). The aim is to reduce unwanted bycatch of marine mammals and birds. At the initiative of a local fisherman, the Baltic Sea Coast FLAG invited the environmental NGO NABU and other local fishermen to develop a joint project on the use of an innovative baited fish trap for the fishing grounds of the Probstei Coast.

During the test phase, 30 of the alternative fish traps were used for day-to-day fishing. Their new conical shape also makes them stackable. Both the conventional gillnets and new fishing gear are being used at the same time so that efficiency can be compared. An accompanying scientific programme is testing a number of variables, such as catching positions, water depth, light attraction and species of bait (herring, sprat and sandeel). This is accompanied by a monitoring programme and a protocol for the fishermen.

Apart from the contribution to developing sustainable fishery techniques, the project also aims to improve stakeholder collaboration, support direct marketing of sustainable fish products and preserve coastal fisheries culture. For this, the FLAG also managed to persuade three small coastal municipalities to engage in co-financing this project. A PR campaign and marketing plan helps spread the message to the public. E fish caught with this alternative gear is sold via Fisch vom Kutter, which is a platform matching supply and demand between fishermen and consumers in an instantaneous and cost-effective way.



Budget €11 316
EU contribution €9 618
  • EMFF: €9 618
Other public contribution €1 698
  • Local: €1 698

Project cost : €11 316

  • EU contribution (EMFF): €9 618
  • Contribution of three municipalities: €1 698


NABU Naturschutzbund Deutschland


Contact details

FLAG Contacts

Ms. Melanie Prigge
+49 4321 96561114

Organisation Contacts

NABU Naturschutzbund Deutschland
Mr. Kim Detloff
+49 4321 96561114
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