Artisanal Aeolian fishermen are steadily running out of fish. The once bountiful seas around the Sicilian archipelago have been overfished by large fishing boats with quota for pelagic fish like swordfish and bluefin tuna.
Local, small-scale fishermen in the Aeolians are forced to fish closer to shore, catching lower-value fish on reefs and seagrass beds. Nets are often lost on the rocky seabed and are left to entangle sea life for years. The fishermen have co-existed with the sea for millennia; this dynamic is now changing. With that change, history, culture and community values are lost.
BLUE’s mission in the Aeolians is to reverse this change through the establishment of an effective marine protected area and a low-impact, sustainable local fishery. BLUE works closely with the Aeolian Island Preservation Fund to achieve this.
The Italian government has committed to creating the largest marine reserve in the country and research is underway to support the designation. However, it is dependent on the buy-in from the Aeolian fishermen and island communities. With this in mind, BLUE is building on its win-win model of sustainable fishing first developed Lyme Bay to ensure the Aeolian marine reserve supports the fishermen and the fishermen support the reserve.
The fishermen of Stromboli and Salina Islands have signed up to responsible fishing ‘codes of conduct’, voluntarily reducing their gear and fishing pressure, in return for insulated fish boxes and ice machines to improve the quality and value of their catch. BLUE hopes that these coastal communities will see the value of marine protection for both fishing and tourism and push for the authorities to protect their precious marine resources.
90% of fishermen signed up to Code of Conduct
10,000kg of ghost nets removed
70 local children in marine education programme
75 fish boxes and 3 ice machines provided to fishermen
“I think BLUE’s insulated fish boxes would be invaluable for my family in Cyprus, but we just can’t catch enough fish to fill them – there are none left”
By working together, we can turn the tide on overfishing and the destruction of biodiversity. By supporting BLUE, you can help to create marine reserves around the world.