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Geography of Inshore Fishing and Sustainability

Fishing communities along the Channel and southern North Sea are facing challenges and changes at a time of strict regulation and measures to address the ‘crisis’ in fisheries. GIFS is a project co-funded by the Interreg IVa 2 Seas programme and is aimed at understanding the socio-economic and cultural importance of inshore fishing to provide a better basis for fisheries policy, coastal regeneration strategies and sustainable community development. The project is the result of the collaboration between six partners from four European countries bordering the Southern North Sea and English Channel. It has been recognized that, in addition to food provision and contributing economically to coastal communities, inshore fishing also provides a range of broader social and cultural values and benefits. Identifying these values and capturing these often intangible benefits beside the economic importance of fishing is crucial in order to make better and more informed policy and management decisions.

 The research was divided into themes, to obtain a better understanding of the relation between inshore fishing and the community:

  • Coastal zone governance and inshore fishing
  • Fishing places & community
  • Fishing activity past and present
  • Economy and regeneration in fishing communities

Two case studies were performed: one in Arnemuiden, with the investment in and regeneration of the fishing heritage, and another in Hastings, where the influence of the fishing community on political decision-making was reconstructed.

Work on the GIFS project was completed between January 2012 and September 2014 and resulted in several products. The two main products, the toolkit and interactive map provide useful findings and advice on how to value the socio-economic and cultural importance of inshore fishing today.

kaart partners 2


University of Greenwich (UoG)

nr2 University of Brighton (UoB)
nr3 Université de Bretagne Occidentale (UBO)
nr5 Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ)


Municipality of Middelburg


Figure: The 2 Seas region and location of GIFS partner institutes (Source: VLIZ, 2014).