December 19, 2019 - As part of a study visit to Montenegrin fishers, their Italian colleagues yesterday visited the Institute of Marine Biology of the University of Montenegro in Kotor to get acquainted with the activities of the Institute in the field of fisheries, as well as the activities implemented within the ADRINET project by this scientific institution.
Hosted by Italian fishermen, who have been in Montenegro since Monday, December 16, until today, the Municipality of Herceg Novi, one of six project partners whose implementation under the IPA Interreg Cooperation Program of Italy, Albania, and Montenegro, started in March 2018 and will last until March 2020.
At the Institute of Marine Biology, a scientific team led by ichthyologist Dr. Alexander Joksimovic greeted guests from Italy and presented to them the activities of the Institute and the projects implemented for sustainable fisheries management.
"We are always glad to have our dear friends from the Adriatic countries. This time we hosted colleagues from Italy, I am particularly pleased that they are fishermen. It seems to me that they have the best understanding of the issue of fishing and the pursuit of that activity in the Adriatic. We explained the situation in Montenegro, the connection between our fishermen and the administration, as well as our Institute. It seems to me that we are a good example in this regard because very often we meet with fishers, share experiences, and make our fisheries sector better organized in the future. Of course, there are our obligations to the General Fisheries Commission of the Mediterranean and the European Union in the negotiation process. Therefore, large and rich activities are ahead of us to make Montenegro a relevant companion in this story. In all these activities, our fishermen are the focus - to create better conditions for them, so that future young fishermen can be included in this story with the message that in Montenegro, as a tourist country, there is a future in connecting tourism and fishing," emphasized Dr. Joksimović.
In addition to fishers from the Bussola Association of Lecce-Vincenzo Bruno, Salvatore Maggli, and Cristiano Rizzato and Grazio de Paolis of the Cooperazione Pescatori of Castro, representatives of the municipality of Castro, the partner city of the ADRINET project - Francesco Pacella and Claudio Longo, also visited Montenegro. The Italians were interested in how the Montenegrin fishermen were organized. They were shocked to hear that there are only 200 professional fishermen in Montenegro and that they operate through as many as four associations. Dr. Joksimovic explained that the position of Montenegro is particular, both due to the small number of employees in the industry, and because our coast is only 293 kilometers long, and that at a short distance from the shore the Adriatic is deepening. All of the mentioned places heavy demands on fishers and when it comes to the fishing fleet and fishing gear. So, the Fisheries Directorate is committed to protecting the interests of Montenegrin fishers in the context of the Adriatic and the Mediterranean.
Vincenzo Bruno comes from a family that has been engaged in fisheries for three generations as a core business. Since 2000, as a fisherman, Vincenzo has also been involved in tourism - taking interested guests to fish and afterward ensuring that they enjoy lunch on the boat. He is very pleased with the placement of this offer and the income it generates. It suggests that linking fishers with the tourism industry could also be of mutual benefit in Montenegrin times.
What surprised the guests from Italy was the low consumption of marine fish in Montenegro. In this regard, they have suggested promotional and educational campaigns to make the population aware of the importance of fish and seafood intake, to nourish the nutritionally much richer meat foods that are still prevalent in our diet. The Montenegrin hosts explained to them that one of the main reasons was the low paying power of the population and the high price of fish, which was again the result of insufficient fishing and unfair competition.
Fishers and experts point out that connecting and exchanging experiences at the level of the Adriatic countries is crucial both for the development of fisheries as an industry and for the protection of marine biodiversity, especially in terms of overfishing. Because, as pointed out by a guest from Italy - Vincenzo Bruno, we must also think about what our grandchildren will hunt.
The purpose of the ADRINET project - Adriatic Network for the Marine Ecosystem - is to approach the problem of coastal zone management in the most comprehensive way possible, with an emphasis on sharing good fishing practice. The ADRINET project's activities are focused on local communities and fishers to integrate them into marine biodiversity protection. Therefore the exchange of knowledge and experience among fishermen is crucial for defining standard methods of coastal fisheries management in the three Adriatic countries.
One of the innovations within the ADRINET project is the acquisition of GPS equipment for marking fishing gears to reduce ghost fishing, ie, unnecessary loss of the fish stock. Also, with the support of local communities and scientific institutions from partner countries, fishers are provided to be trained in the use of innovative, environmentally friendly methods in fisheries, while respecting general policies and conservation measures that should be defined through this project.
After a visit to Montenegro, the Italians today traveled to Albania, where they will be guests of project partners and fishermen in Vlora until Saturday, December 21.
The Montenegrin delegation, led by experts from the Institute of Marine Biology, is scheduled to visit the Italian Castro in the Puglia region in February next year.