Fisheries Areas Network

Good Practice Short Story

Mobilising and training volunteers to prevent poaching

High Western Rhodopes is a popular fishing destination, which creates economic and social benefits for the local communities, but also environmental concerns, such as poaching. To prevent poaching, the FLAG financed training for volunteers to protect the local environment.
This project is very important for the community in many ways. Poaching and illegal fishing are detrimental to the environment. This initiative not only prevents these activities, but also boosts the local population's social capacity towards environmental issues in the area.
Iordanka Mircheva, High Western Rhodopes FLAG Expert for LDS implementation

Pollution of coastal areas caused by tourism is a common phenomenon, causing a significant negative impact on the environment and the image of the area. The rich fish resources attract not only legal recreational fishing, but unfortunately many poachers too. Their illegal and unregulated fishing practices lead to biodiversity loss and environmental degradation, and the state agency in charge of preventing poaching does not have enough staff to deal with the problem.

This project demonstrates the importance of social capital for making local communities more resilient to pressing challenges. Working with the local association of hunters and fishers in the "Hunting and Fishing Society" of Devin, the initiative aimed to reduce the number of poaching incidents and build an informed and active group of local volunteers.

Thirty volunteers were trained to use appropriate technical equipment to conduct preventive activities related to reducing pollution and preventing poaching. The equipment funded by the FLAG included a drone with two cameras for real-time monitoring of poaching hotspots; thermo-vision monoculars to look out for anyone fishing in the dark, which is illegal in Bulgaria; binoculars and a speedboat.

Two two-day training sessions were held for the volunteers. Training them was a way of involving the local community in environmental protection activities. Volunteers were also issued special identity cards by the state agency responsible for poaching prevention. In addition, 1 000 leaflets were produced and handed out to local hoteliers and at fishing shops to improve information on prohibition periods and areas in reservoirs where recreational fishing is permitted.


Budget €22 944
EU contribution €18 109
  • EMFF: €18 109
Other public contribution €3 195
  • National: €3 195
Private contribution €1 640


Devin Hunting and Fishing Society

Contact details

FLAG Contacts

Mr. Antim Parzhanov
+359 89 443 8144
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