Fisheries Areas Network

Good Practice Short Story

Vakava, a network for underused fish species

By finding commercial outlets for certain fish species, especially those that tend to overpopulate, this project aims to ensure better local resource management, improving the image of undervalued species and reducing eutrophication in Finnish lakes.
The network aims to help fishermen to sell all the fish they catch, and processors to provide consumers with interesting new products to choose from. At the same time there are ecological benefits from taking nutrients out of the waterways. So, it is a win-win situation in economic and ecological terms.
Janne Ruokolainen, FLAG Manager

Many Finnish lakes are in need of nutrient removal, as phytoplankton can propagate explosively and cause toxic blooming on the surface. High levels of certain fish species contribute to this process of eutrophication and, by removing them from the food web, a lake can begin to recover. However, the market is currently underdeveloped for many of the species in question (e.g. vendace, perch and other cyprinids) so they have not been a prime target for fishermen.  

The Local Association for Fisheries Management in southern Päijänne, therefore, approached the Central Finland FLAG for support to set up a network to connect the different stakeholders interested in improving the marketing of unwanted catches and underutilised fish species. Fishermen, processors, local authorities, developers and researchers in the field have been brought together for the first time to share information and the results of relevant studies and trials addressing the need to improve the economic viability of certain fish.

One of the main actions of the network involves the mapping of raw material streams of poorly exploited lakes to enable an economically viable fishing activity. The network will hire a project manager to engage with and activate the different stakeholders in the area. Local entrepreneurs have already started to cooperate and share their experience and knowledge through the designated website, and existing projects have been linked to the network. As regards the marketing of the products from underused fish species, processing and logistical chains are starting to be built up.

The project called “Vakava” (which means “strong” or “serious”) is intended as a local pilot which can be upscaled to a national level. The Finnish Institute for National Resources is already associated with the project as is the regional University of Applied Sciences. 



Budget €32 600
EU contribution €11 951
  • EMFF: €11 951
Other public contribution €13 477
  • National: €13 477
Private contribution €7 172



Contact details

FLAG Contacts

Mr. Janne Ruokolainen
+358 44 7124209
Publication date: 
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