Sustainable Development of Fisheries Communities: The Role of Community-Led Local Development Policies

  • Pedro Valadas Monteiro
  • Teresa de Noronha


The environmental problems that dominate the present day are the result of increasing pressure on natural resources. It is therefore essential to understand what the reasons are why individuals and society make choices that lead to the depletion of natural resources and what are the guidelines that could/should be used to promote their sustainable management. For many communities around the world, the disturbance of these marine ecosystems impacts the local residents, both socially and economically. Fisheries management experts recognize that the underlying causes of fisheries resource overexploitation and coastal environmental degradation are often of social, economic, institutional and/or political origins. Around the world in recent decades, awareness has emerged that the management and governance of the ocean, coastal zones and human activities associated with it should be addressed as an ecosystem approach, not sectoral but integrated. Policy interventions, if they are to bring about lasting solutions, must address these concerns. With the growing emphasis on ecosystem-based management, there is an expanding need for measures of social well-being and sustainability, including resilience and vulnerability, for coastal fisheries and fishing communities. The Priority Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) focuses on the sustainable development of fisheries areas, and it was introduced into the EFF for the first time in the period 2007–2013. It provides accompanying measures aimed at the conversion of areas affected by the restructuring of the fisheries sector. In many cases, these cannot be dealt with by traditional policies and tools on their own. In this respect, Axis 4 is similar to the Leader ‘area-based approach’ to development in rural areas. Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund is a tool for fisheries communities to drive development locally. It is implemented by private–public partnerships called Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs). These groups are made up of representatives from fisheries and aquaculture and from all parts of the community. Together they prepare and implement a local development strategy for their area. Throughout Europe, more than 300 of these FLAGs have already generated several thousand projects adapted to local needs. In the Algarve region (Portugal) there are currently two FLAGs active, one in the ‘barlavento’ and the other one in the ‘sotavento’ area. With the current paper, we want to take stock of some of their emerging results and achievements. Given the increased prominence of community-led local development strategies in the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMMF) and other EU funding programmes for the operational programming period 2014–2020, we want to assess what Axis 4 has offered so far to those fisheries communities and the roles which FLAGs can and should be playing to address the challenges and opportunities facing their territories.


Fisheries communities Resilience Local development FLAGs 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pedro Valadas Monteiro
    • 1
    • 2
  • Teresa de Noronha
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Regional Directorate for Agriculture and Fisheries of AlgarveFaroPortugal
  2. 2.Research Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics (CIEO), University of AlgarveFaroPortugal
  3. 3.Faculty of EconomicsUniversity of AlgarveFaroPortugal

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