The fishing industry in the Mediterranean is facing some major challenges. In recent decades, the overexploitation of fish stocks has led to a gradual decline in catches, which, together with other factors, has led to ever-diminishing returns for the small-scale fishing sector, forcing many professionals to abandon their activity and jeopardizing the continuity of the active fishing fleet due to a lack of generational renewal.
Furthermore, coastal and maritime tourism has been defined as an area with strong potential to drive a smart, sustainable and inclusive Europe. In this regard, the European Commission is particularly interested in promoting an innovative approach to products that showcase the rich cultural and natural heritage of the European coasts.
Against this background, the overall objective of TOURISMED is to examine potential business models for fishing tourism that guarantee sustainable coastal tourism in the Mediterranean and enable the diversification of traditional fishing activities.
To that end, TOURISMED aims to test a Fishing-Tourism model (type of fishing tourism that takes place onboard a boat) in coastal areas of Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Albania, France and Spain, which promotes sustainable tourism, while encouraging the preservation of marine ecosystems and traditional fishing in the Mediterranean.
The main results to highlight are the following:
- Development of a fishing tourism business model which showcases sustainable fishing, local natural resources and traditional fishing products, and which helps to diversify the fishing industry, thus providing an additional source of revenue for fishermen.
- Design and development of capacity-building training initiatives enabling fishermen to launch and operate fishing tourism activities.
- Enhancement of the tourism offer in the pilot areas by launching 6 fishing-tourism tours (in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Albania and Cyprus).
- Design and launch of a web portal that promotes activities linked to fishing tourism in the Mediterranean, highlighting the socio-cultural value of its maritime and fishing heritage.
In particular, the fishing tourism business model has been tested in four ports in the Valencian Community, (Vinaroz, Valencia, Castellón and Xàvea) with 7 fishing vessels carrying out a total of 32 pilot trips.