91 participants from five countries of the South Baltic Region (Poland, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Lithuania) attended the final conference of the CATCH project (co-financed under the EU Interreg South Baltic Region Programme) – Sustainable Coastal Angling Tourism – a development chance for the South Baltic Region. The conference held in Dźwirzyno, Poland on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th April 2019, and gathered anglers, angling experts, representatives of coastal municipalities, angling associations and tourism associations who support sustainable angling tourism boosting coastal development, academia, environmental NGOs and officials.
Rich conference programme included lectures on current trends, offers, local initiatives and marketing opportunities for sustainable coastal angling in the South Baltic Region, parallel practical workshops, a gallery of the winner photos of photo competition Fishing South Baltic #myCATCH and lively discussions on best sustainable coastal angling practices and guidelines for communities to raise the potential of regional coastal angling tourism. The speakers included: Prof. Przemysław Śmietana from the University of Szczecin (Poland), Nils Höglund from the Coalition Clean Baltic (Sweden), Sławomir Keszka from the West Pomeranian University of Technology (Poland), Antanas Kontautas and Egle Baltranaitė from the Klaipeda University (Lithuania), Saulius Mikalauskas from the Lithuanian Angling Association (Lithuania), Gordon P. Henriksen and Niels Lagergaard Pedersen from the Fishing Zealand (Denmark), Holger Bente from the www.doctor-catch.com (Germany), Mila Zarkh from the Youth Hostel Association of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (Germany), Raimundas Jocys from the Gargždai Children’s and Youth Leisure Centre (Lithuania), Kaare M. Ebert from the Denmark’s Sportfishing Association (Denmark) and Andrzej Laszuk representing the Society of Friends of the River Rega (Poland).
Plenary sessions focused on three basic questions: why is sustainability so important in costal angling?, how can coastal angling tourism contribute to the South Baltic Region development in a social aspect?, how to successfully promote costal angling services in the South Baltic Region? Parallel workshops session included workshop dedicated to Recreational fishing for young people and Outdoor angling workshop. During the first workshop, inspiring attempts of working with young anglers in the CATCH partner countries were presented; afterwards the participants were invited to discuss different ways of leading children and young adults to recreational fishing and a responsible treatment of the environment. Practical outdoor workshop concerned making the fly-baits for trout fishing and “from-the shore” angling techniques used on the Pomeranian Bay – ideal for both advanced and beginners, offering the opportunity to experience a piece of coastal angling on the Polish coast.
These constructive, insightful and thought-provoking discussions suggest that addressing the coastal angling tourism challenges across the South Baltic Region requires a comprehensive governance approach to protect, use and share natural resources in a responsible and sustainable way. The biggest success of the conference was the gathering of such a large group of participants interested in the topic of coastal fishing and their active participation, showing how great development potential lies in coastal angling tourism in the region.
The second conference day was dedicated to the guided half-day field trip. During this trip the hydroelectric power plant on the river Parsęta in village of Rościno was visited and a newly built fish pass with a scanner for monitoring fish migration was demonstrated. The trip also included demonstration of activities of voluntary fishing guard on the Parsęta river. The guards presented and discussed the specifics of their work and specialized equipment to fight with poaching, like photo trap, thermal imaging camera and night-vision devices.
The conference was organized by the Green Federation “GAIA”, in cooperation with the CATCH project consortium and the Faculty of Biology of the University of Szczecin.