Creating innovative business opportunities for fishing communities

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Framework conditions for innovation


Shared challenges Following a worldwide economic recession European countries are looking for ways to stimulate the economy and move towards a sustainable future. European priorities include delivering high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion. To do this the EU is consulting on its Europe 2020 growth strategy and each member state is adopting its own national targets. In the Channel area and Southern North Sea there is a great deal of talk about the potential of blue growth and the importance of the maritime economy. Many coastal towns and rural areas are in need of new opportunities to help deliver sustainable community development that encourages economic growth while also caring for the environment. In the 2 seas programme area many small scale coastal fisheries are struggling financially, or are disappearing altogether, being overruled by large fishing companies with more financial resources to buy quota, or struggling under administrative burdens and inadequate policy frameworks. The European Union recognises the valuable role that small scale fishing can play in coastal communities. Historically, small scale fisheries are important for local communities. However, the economic situation and outlook for small-scale fisheries in the 2 seas area is not positive. Their contribution to regional income and employment is low and declining. Nevertheless, history has proven that fishing communities along the coast posses highly adaptive potential to change their way of life and business. Fishermen (and in the cultural mind set of fishing community members) contain a resourcefulness that could be better used to tackle the actual challenges. Increased efforts are necessary to better position and profile the fishing communities and their harbours. Business innovation and quadruple helix approach The project partners will develop new business opportunities, based on authenticity (story telling), attractive products (looks, craftsmanship) and unique selling points (attractive setting and personal touch). Joint ventures between fishing communities will be stimulated to generate solid sales for the SMEs involved. Contacts between fishermen and fishing communities in the 2 seas area will be recreated /tightened for exchange and trade. The project will seek to (re)discover the full innovative potential of fishing communities. Local capacity and valuable assets will be input for the development of new products or marketing channels (new and mixed media, e-marketing). At the same time partners may use region marketing and place branding to stimulate new cross overs and innovative processes. To boost innovation, knowledge flows between research and business in this field must be improved and extended. Due to a relative self-sufficient way of living of fishermen and fishing communities, knowledge exchange with other organisations will/has not developed spontaneous. The project will bring entrepreneurs, interest groups, public authorities, organisations representing end users and knowledge institutes together. This so called quadruple helix approach will act at different levels and scale with different points of view, representing fishery, tourism, marketing, education, food or even fashion. Different expertise, experience and information will interfere and can improve innovation processes. Project partners will develop and test new business innovations and ensure the widest possible take up of effective marketing methods. The partners explore ways to reduce geographical barriers to new knowledge and support the (new) joint ventures in response to market changes and to access (international) markets.

Creation date: 23/05/2016

Bloc onglets

Bloc 1

Overall objective

The project aims to strengthen innovation through the creation of innovative business opportunities based on the social, cultural and economic capital of fishing communities in the 2 seas programme area. The project activities are focussed on innovation through cooperation of SMEs, knowledge institutes, maritime stakeholders, regional authorities and municipalities, the tourism and gastronomy sectors and the fishermen themselves. In this way the project aims to reinforce (the cohesion of) the fishing communities in the 2 seas area, their economic position and their competitiveness.

Bloc 2


• Improved knowledge capacity in and flows between private and public organisations related to fishing communities; • Best practices and lessons learned (do’s and don’ts) from regions in the 2 Seas programme area to innovate small scale fishing communities and maritime stakeholders; • Improved innovation processes in /related to fishing communities, through cooperation between SMEs, research institutes (with local/regional scope and international knowledge), local organisations, the public sector and end users (e.g. in the field of fishery, tourism, marketing, cultural and natural assets, education, food or fashion); • New joint ventures; • New realised market opportunities or bigger market shares for products and services relevant to fishing communities (to be decided) • Tested innovative marketing approaches; • Better positioning and profiling of the fishing communities and their harbours; • Increased knowledge flows and innovation potential on the long term (post project); • Improved support of public organisations to innovations related to fishing communities; • Involvement of local economic, social and cultural organisations to generate economic innovation and economic broadening.

Bloc 3

Expected result

The new joint ventures will enhance the regional innovation support capacity of the fishing communities that will also increase long-term business innovation. Successful products and services will be delivered also after the project has finished and contribute to economic broadening and strengthening of the social economic resilience of fishing communities in the 2 Seas programme area.

Bloc 4

Cross-border added-value

The cross border cooperation will be an effective method to analyse the best circumstances for transferability / high market share and to select successful innovations. The project period has a laboratory function; economic failures and successes are both valuable. Lessons on both will be disseminated to relevant stakeholders.