Cooperation and networks, especially with the owners of water areas, A developing and attractive commercial fishing, Promotion of Fishing Tourism   as Focal Points in the Development Strategy of the East Finland Fisheries Local Action Group

An active and traditional fishing industry is an important part of the Eastern Finnish identity and way of living. Commercial fishing in the region is significant. The operation area is extensive although reasonably uniform regarding natural conditions and fishing industry. The SWOT analysis reveals that the strengths, possibilities, weaknesses and threaths are similar in the whole region. The strategy of the East Finland Fisheries Local Action Group for the programming period 2022–2027 is divided into three main themes:

  1. Cooperation and networks,
  2. A developing and attractive commercial fishing,
  3. Promotion of Fishing Tourism

As in previous funding periods, the strategy has emphasised the strong commercial fisheries and fishing tourism in the region and, in particular, the importance of communication, networking and closer cooperation in the programming period. Developed commercial fishing and fishing tourism offer good opportunities for further development of these industries. Water bodies and their condition play a particularly important role in the Eastern Finland region for residents, recreational users and businesses alike. The aim of the development strategy is to increase interaction between the various actors and to involve them actively and responsibly in the development of the fisheries, the environment and the environment of the local water bodies.

The East Finland FLAG strategy will improve fishing conditions in inland waters, increase lake fishing opportunities and fish utilisation, promote fishing tourism, improve cooperation between businesses and owners in the sector and respond to the global challenges facing the sector. The overarching themes guiding all activities are sustainability in terms of fish stocks, business, the environment and the measures funded, and the use of digital technologies.

The aim of this strategy is to develop the sector in accordance with the Leader principles, with a local focus. The aim is to improve the sustainability, attractiveness and profitability of the fishing industry and to improve cooperation between the industry and the owners of the fishing waters.

The East Finland FLAG covers the large lake area of Saimaa located across four eastern provinces of Finland. Summers are rather warm and in winter the lakes are covered with ice. The winter fishing season is approximately four months long. The population density is low, and the number of inhabitants is declining in most parts. Despite this, the area has a large population compared to other FLAGs due to its sheer size- it covers an area larger than Belgium – this is to obtain a critical mass of fishermen in order to make the group viable.

Population 660 000, surface area 64 000 km2, river basin 13 100 km2, coastal area 106 000 km2.