Exchange on small-scale fisheries

A look back at the small-scale fisheries exchange visit to Torre Guaceto, Italy.

MedPAN organised an exchange visit to Torre Guaceto, Italy, on 12 and 13 June for around 20 MPA managers, artisanal fishermen or their representatives, as well as other stakeholders from 10 Mediterranean countries. Participants were able to exchange their experiences of MPA governance practices for the management of small-scale fisheries.

It was an opportunity to exchange experiences and points of view on the implementation of the governance toolkit. Illustrated by the ongoing testing at the FishMPABlue2 pilot sites of Torre Guaceto, Portofino (Italy), Strunjan (Slovenia) and Telascica (Croatia), the exchange revolved around the development of cooperation with artisanal fishermen, improved monitoring of fishing, reduction of fishing effort and monitoring and control of illegal fishing.

A field trip allowed everyone to see for themselves the collaboration that exists between fishermen and the Torre Guaceto MPA. Since 2000, when the MPA banned fishing throughout the reserve, to the relationship of trust that exists today many steps have been taken. In 2005, an agreement was reached with the fishermen to authorise experimental fishing in the buffer zone of the MPA (Zone C, which represents 85% of the MPA). Systematic scientific monitoring (part of the agreement) made it possible to determine the fishing effort year after year and showed that the catches were 2 to 4 times higher in the buffer zones than outside. These results made it possible to obtain the support of the fishers for the protection and management of the MPA. Today, fishers can fish in the MPA once a week, landings are always very accurately tracked, and fishermen can sell bigger fish to restaurateurs and other local customers. This was made possible over time on the basis of dialogue between fishers and MPA management that still today enables the adaptive management of fishing activity in Torre Guaceto, with measures to reduce fishing effort.