“Support for diversification” is the second objective mentioned in Axis 4 for the sustainable development of fisheries areas (Article 43.2b). It generally involves working to improve the linkages between fisheries and other economic sectors rather than linkages within the fisheries supply chain as in the previous section.
Both the EFF Regulation and the FLAGs tend to look at diversification in a number of main ways - usually starting with activities closely related to fisheries and then broadening out. For example, many local strategies focus on tourism as a means to “restructure and redirect” economic activities like local restaurants, markets, shops and leisure activities that can both complement and have a strong multiplier effect on local fisheries (Article 44.1b).
However, the Regulation also allows FLAGs to promote any economic activity, regardless of its links to fisheries, which provides alternative employment directly for fishermen and women (Article 44.1c). Finally, the Regulation allows for investments in alternative economic activities which “strengthen the competitiveness of fisheries areas" (Article 44.1a) - regardless of whether they are directly linked to fisheries or provide employment for fishers.
The last two broader types of diversification open the door to all kinds of “smart, green and inclusive growth” sectors that are recommended in the proposed new strategy for Europe 2020. Most investments in these sectors will be productive and require private cofinancing as in the case of adding value to fisheries products.
In order to assist in the exchange of good practice between FLAGs, diversification will be analysed in terms of the new emerging sectors in fisheries areas and as well as their links to fisheries, for example:
These are fields in which LEADER groups have a particularly rich experience. Some of this experience can provide inspiration for the FLAGs and i will be covered in this part of the website.
Due to the importance of this theme within FLAG strategies it will be the subject of a transnational seminar and technical guide in 2011 with a strong focus on tourism.