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Sustainable fishing tourism is an increasingly popular way of diversifying artisanal fishers’ activities. WWF has been actively involved in the promotion and technical support of the Sustainable Fishing Tourism in the Mediterranean.
The current steep decline in ocean health and productivity threatens the wellbeing of hundreds of millions of people. It’s a particularly serious prospect for some small coastal communities which rely on small-scale fishing. Dwindling catches and falling revenues put income and food security at risk.
These communities are often in regions which receive a high number of tourists, and some small fishing ports are gradually becoming more like marinas for summer visitors. Some small-scale fishers have seen their work areas shrink to the point where they don’t fish at all during the tourist season.
There’s no single magic solution to the crisis facing small-scale fisheries: action is needed on many fronts to make fisheries sustainable. However, Sustainable Fishing Tourism is an increasing popular activity around the world.
Sustainable Fishing Tourism has different names in different countries - Pescaturismo, Pescaturisme, Pêchetourisme, Pesca Vivencial, Experiential Fishing, Ribolovni turizam etc. - but the concept remains the same: it is only intended for professional fishers, allowing the diversification of their activities while continuing their traditional trade.
This alternative income stream should reduce the intensity of fishing activities, contribute to sustainable management of fishery resources, and promote the cultural heritage of artisanal fishing.
Sustainable Fishing Tourism is one of the solutions that WWF is promoting in many countries to ensure sustainable livelihoods of coastal communities in today’s overfished oceans.
In 2007, WWF was one of the first promoters of Pescatourism and Ittiotourism, supporting small-scale fishers, MPAs and local tour operators in Italy.
Since 2014, WWF has supported fishers and administrations in Algeria and Tunisia to introduce Sustainable Fishing Tourism as a tool to diversify fishing activities in areas identified as future MPAs, with training for professional fishers in safety, communication, and tourism.
Thanks to an exchange visit for the central administrations of Algeria with fishery cooperatives in France and Italy, a legislative decree to regulate Fishing Tourism was published in Algeria in July 2016, recognising Fishing Tourism as a diversification of fishing activity.
As part of the MedMPA Network project, WWF has developed a set of principles and recommendations for defining what is, and what is NOT Sustainable Fishing Tourism, providing background information, practical case studies and a summary of the principles themselves.
If - and only if - it’s done right, it can be a sustainable alternative activity that works for people and the marine environment alike.
Read the full publication here.