In November the partners of the newly launched project CHERISH (Creating opportunities for regional growth through promoting Cultural HERitage of fISHing communities in Europe) met in Middelburg, the Netherlands. During the kick-off meeting and the first ‚International Learning and Exchange of Experience Event‘ (ILEEE) the project partners and stakeholders from nine different European regions discussed the possibilities how improved regional development policies can help to protect and promote cultural heritage in European fishing communities in order to maintain the heritage and to boost the attractiveness of these regions for businesses, citizens and tourists.
Besides background information about CHERISH, the political situation in the hosting region and an introduction round of the project consortium, numerous practice-oriented lectures from local entrepreneurs enriched the agenda. It was presented how the reawaking of traditional knitting patterns for fishing clothes can contribute to the income of the local community and how the appreciation of the local people for the cultural heritage of the fishing traditions is incidentally raised. Examples from the gastronomic sector and of the usage of by-products from the local fishery – like oyster shells and fish skin – for new products were presented as well. Another way to inform the participants about the varied attempts of the municipality of Middelburg to protect the cultural fishery heritage was an excursion to an old traditional boatyard at the second day of the ILEEE.
The main objective of CHERISH is to improve regional development policies to protect and promote cultural heritage in fishing communities. Fishery communities in the EU share the same challenges with regard to climate change, tourism pressure and the transformation of the European fishing industry. The EU recognizes the valuable role of the cultural heritage for sustainable development and stimulates increased efforts to better position and profile the fishing communities, including their intangible heritage, like myths to daily practices, traditions, ecological knowledge and crafts. Through the development and implementation of new strategies utilising cultural assets of fishing communities new jobs and new products or services are created as well.
Interregional cooperation and policy learning will allow exchange of experiences on the development of policy for the protection and promotion of cultural heritage in fishing communities via the integration of the lessons learnt into the regional policies. EUCC-D is an advisory partner in the project CHERISH and responsible for the stakeholder involvement and communication support.
Duration: 06/2018 – 05/2023
Funding: Interreg Europe Programme 2014-2020, European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)