Important steps for the empowerment of the coastal fishers of Alonissos were taken at the twoday Open Dialogue Workshop on Coastal Fisheries, setting the basis for the continuation of similar initiatives, aiming at a more sustainable future for both the fishing profession and the marine environment of the region. The Workshop, organised by the Thalassa Foundation and held on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 October in Chora Alonissos, attracted the interest of a large number of people, mainly coastal fishers, and was based on a structured dialogue and a fruitful exchange of views and proposals.
From the very beginning of the Workshop, all participants came to a common vision, that the sea should have fish. They then described the current situation in their sector in general, but also in their area in particular, and were informed of good examples from other regions of the country where coastal fishers have taken action either in the field or by submitting concrete proposals. This was followed by a brainstorming session, during which participants proposed issues of concern to them for discussion and elaboration. Four of these were selected, based on public interest and the feasibility of addressing them, and in particular the control of recreational fishing, the guarding of the Alonissos North Sporades Marine Park, the access to the market for local coastal fishers and the better information on issues that concern them.
The next step of the workshop was to divide the participants into 4 working groups, each one to work on one of the issues that emerged and to propose ideas and specific actions for their management. The process of cooperation and constructive dialogue introduced extremely interesting proposals for each topic, such as the creation of a company of coastal fishers that will promote the market with the certification of the origin of the catches by the Marine Park of Alonissos, the strengthening of the guarding of the marine park with the participation of coastal fishers, the cooperation with other fishing associations in Greece for an organized claim for the restoration of the license of recreational fishing under specific conditions and the direct information of fishers for financial support.
The event was concluded with the common commitment of all participants that this effort will continue and that the proposals made will not remain at the level of a wish list, but through corresponding actions of participatory dialogue, will be subject to further processing and will be immediately implemented.