Fisheries Areas Network

Good Practice Short Story

Fishers campaigning for reducing plastic in ports

The FISHEKO Operation, covering the whole coastline of Slovenia, is a project giving local fishers communication training and hiring them to carry out an awareness-raising campaign against single-use plastics in marine activities.
Keeping fisheries activities alive in Istria is quite challenging, and so is finding new diversification opportunities for fishers. FISHEKO offers us both things. People are getting to know more about us and our profession. We can also be useful by helping to defend our way of life and keeping oceans free from plastics.
Matjaž Radin, a fisher participating in the project

The Istria FLAG in Slovenia covers the entire Slovenian coast. On these 42 km, approximately 80 full-time fishers carry out their activities. The small size of the area becomes a problem during the summer and on weekends, as the fishers are joined by recreational vessels for other marine activities.

There is an added problem of waste ending up at sea due to these activities. These issues prompted a local fishing company to apply for Istria FLAG funds, to tackle the insufficient space for both fishing and recreational activities, and the plastics problem. The company designed and implemented five communication training sessions for almost 30 local fishers free of charge. This training not only focused on this specific initiative, but also included several themes that could help the fishers to diversify their own activities, such as touristic tours. During the training, the problem of plastic and microplastic in the marine environment was explained, along with how they impact fishers and the general public.

Once the fishers completed the training, the same local company offered to pay them (for their crew and vessel maintenance) for each day they carried out sensitisation activities instead of fishing. On these days, any fishers wanting to, could visit anchored vessels at the ports and explain to people about the environmental harm derived from single-use plastics. Then, the fishers provided these people with a biodegradable package of utensils, such as forks, knives and plates. The fishers were free to choose the timing and selected days in the months when the area is most crowded, thus reducing the fisheries pressure on the local area during these periods.

In 2020, the first year implementing this project, 15 vessels were involved in the campaign. Over the next two more years of the project, the same number of workshops and participants are expected. Fishers have increased their awareness about this problem and became more proactive. They have become authoritative voices on this issue and they now receive invitations from other local stakeholders, such as high schools, to give talks to local students.


Budget €215 890
EU contribution €149 467,5
  • EMFF: €149 467,5
Other public contribution €49 822,5
  • National: €49 822,5
Private contribution €16 600

Contact details

FLAG Contacts

Mr. Bojan Mevlja
+386 5 663 75 80
Publication date: 
PDF Version