ITACA – Innovative tools to increase competitiveness and sustainability of small pelagic fisheries





ITACA tackles the competitiveness of Adriatic fisheries sector, fostering the introduction of blue innovation and improving the sustainability of catch activities.

ITACA focuses on small pelagic (SP) fisheries, meaning the fishing activities targeted on two main ichthyic species: anchovy and sardine that represent a significant share of income for the sector in the Adriatic. Despite the importance of SP fisheries in quantitative terms, the Adriatic SP fisheries SMEs suffers from structural threats that prevent their competitiveness, laying mainly in the scarce capacity of the same enterprises of planning their activities.

Indeed, due to the incertitude in the resources availability and in the market request, SP fishermen are led to increase the level of catches, generating, on one hand, possible surplus in SP fish landings, that finally causes a decrease of selling price and a decrease of SMEs income and, on the other, overexploitation of stocks.

Therefore there is a need to increase the business capacities of SP fisheries SMEs, by providing the enterprises with tools and mechanisms allowing to match the fishing effort with market needs, ensuring therefore the maintenance of the proper producer price of SP fish in the market, to finally protect the SMEs income, and at the same time preserving the SP stocks from overexploitation. In this scenario, ITACA project, thanks to a tight cross-border cooperation among research bodies and representative of SP fisheries SMEs, contributes factually to the growth of the SP fisheries sector setting up (WP3), testing in 7 pilot regions (WP4) and fostering the large scale application (WP5) of innovative SMEs oriented tools to increase the competiveness of SP fisheries, together with establishing a SP fisheries enterprises cluster for a co-management of Adriatic ichthyic resources oriented to sustainability.

To this aim, ITACA adopts a multilevel approach based on the principles:1.all project outputs are developed according to a scientific advice;2.all project activities are addressed and developed with the strong involvement of SP fisheries operators; 3.innovation and knowledge transfer are guiding principle, favouring the dialogue between SMEs and scientific actors. Approach reflects also in the partnership composition, by involving business support actors (LP,PP2,PP3,PP4+PP5, that directly represents the SP fisheries SMEs) and scientific subjects (PP1+PP6). By achieving the foreseen outputs (i.e. the SMEs oriented tools and the SMEs cluster), ITACA leads to a competitive advantage and a boosted competiveness of the Adriatic SP fisheries enterprises in the international scenario, while ensuring improved environmental sustainability of SP fish practices, thanks to the adoption of co-management of SP stocks by enterprises participating in the project, contributing lastly to apply in pioneer way the recent provisions of the EU in matter of shared governance of SP resources in the whole Adriatic basin(COM(2017)97).