Fisheries Areas Network

Good Practice Short Story

Integrating local minorities through lifeguard training

In the region of the Shabla - Kavarna - Balchik FLAG in Bulgaria, Roma and Muslims are important minority groups, making up 10% of the population. The Roma have faced a long history of national exclusion that has led to a series of national strategies for their integration.
This project shows that in our community there is no difference in gender, ethnic and religious appurtenance when working with the people. We have always been and will remain one community.
Mayor of Shabla Municipality

The Muslim ethnic group has a tradition of working in small-scale coastal fisheries and though both groups are recognised for their serious work ethics, their unemployment rate is over 60% in a region where the average rate stands at around 12%. The FLAG contributed to improving this situation by involving the two minority groups in an educational initiative to train divers and water rescuers.

These could play two important roles in the area: firstly, improving beach safety and therefore safeguarding a growing tourist industry based around the local beaches (beach safety has recently fallen behind due to the lack of qualified water rescue teams). And, secondly, by helping locals capitalise on the region’s resource of sea snails. Indeed, diving for them - the environmentally-safe method of catching sea snails – can be very profitable from May to November but requires a licence and a diving certificate that many do not have.

The FLAG identified these needs and opportunities and decided to support training for locals to become water rescuers and divers. The training opportunities were promoted through various regional media channels, attracting high interest, including among minority groups. Over 50 motivated candidates, of which 20 were from minority groups, were selected for the training. Now, the certified divers can apply for a licence to catch sea snails and tourists can benefit from safer beaches during the summer months. All those who participated in the courses later entered the labour market.



Budget €17 948
EU contribution €13 461
  • EMFF: €13 461
Other public contribution €4 487
  • National: €4 487




Contact details

FLAG Contacts

Mr. Nelko Yordanov
Publication date: 
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