Promoting local fisheries products
Fishing throughout the Mediterranean is predominantly coastal trawl fishing, from fishing grounds that are very close to the shore which vessels go to and from each day to sell freshly caught fish. Although the volume of fish caught and farmed is low, the quality is very high and encompasses a wide range of species that have an excellent reputation in cuisine and are perfectly fresh, as they are caught that day. Because the fish is landed on the same day it is harvested, it is of the utmost quality and freshness, which gives it an exquisite added value compared to fish from other areas.
In the countries with shores on the Mediterranean Sea, fishing is far more than a trade: it is a way of life, a cultural asset and a very valuable tradition. To uphold this model, Local Fisheries Action Groups (GALP), the Catalan National Federation of Fisherfolk Guilds, and the Directorate General of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs (DGPAM) of the Regional Ministry of Agriculture of Catalonia have joined forces in a Manifesto to promote local fisheries products as part of the Mediterranean diet.
The Manifesto calls upon all operators in the value chain to raise awareness of the values of local products and to work towards ensuring they are properly labelled. The aims are to differentiate them and to increase public awareness of local species, their seasons, traditions and local cuisine. In sum, the idea is for consumers to be fully informed and to bolster the local fishing industry, as a cultural asset and a tradition that we must preserve.
The Manifesto advocates well-managed coastal fishing as compatible with the ecological functions of the sea and its capacity to provide valuable services to Mediterranean societies. As such, Mediterranean fisheries must be a cornerstone in the region's sustainable blue economy. The Manifesto promotes and highlights the value of local fisheries products and encompasses actions to raise awareness of the following attributes:
- The nutritional, sensory, gastronomic and environmental values of fresh local products.
- The diversity of species landed every day at Mediterranean fishing ports, most of which are little known to consumers.
- The seasons of each species, encouraging people to make informed, sustainable purchases to eat fish at the best possible time when its nutritional and organoleptic qualities are at their peak. Knowing when species are in season also allows us to distinguish between local and non-local fish.
- The tradition and culture of Mediterranean coastal areas as part of the identity of Mediterranean peoples based on a constant mixing of cultures.
- Seafood cuisine, which is hugely varied as a result of the high multi-specificity of fisheries. We need to rediscover the richness and aromas of our local cuisine.
The Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food supports implementation of Catalonia's Maritime Strategy to promote the fisheries sector as key to the region's blue economy. Its aim is to ensure that fish and seafood sold in Catalan markets are harvested sustainably to preserve the model and keep the environmental balance.
The Local Fisheries Action Groups of the North-western Mediterranean (GALP Costa Brava, GALP Mar de l'Ebre, Associació Leader Illa de Menorca, GALPA Pyrénées Méditerranée, FLAC Sardegna Centro Occidentale, Grup Leader Eivissa i Formentera), the Catalan National Federation of Fisherfold Guilds and the Directorate General of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs of the Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (DARP) are the signatories to the Manifesto. GALPs are bodies that promote participatory local development, a tool that the European Commission and the DARP provide to the public to address current social, environmental and economic challenges at local level.