Local Fishing Project
John Nurminen Foundation’s Local Fishing Project, which ran from 2015 to 2019, created the first market-driven value chain from sea to plate for cyprinid fish from the Archipelago Sea. The project also significantly enhanced their image as edible fish. The project fished a total of 700 tonnes of bream and roach from the Archipelago Sea and Sea of Bothnia, which equals 5 tonnes of phosphorus removed from the Baltic Sea. In addition to its achievements, the project noted that there is still room for development in the value chains associated with the commercialisation of cyprinid fish.
Recycling nutrients from sea to land
Fishing can help to recycle from sea to land a substantial amount of nutrients that cause eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. What’s more, as an alternative to intensive meat production or imported fish, sustainably caught fish are friendly to the Baltic Sea and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food production. The Local Fishing Project, created the first market-driven value chain from sea to plate for cyprinid fish from the Archipelago Sea, starting from products for institutional kitchens in Turku region and later on focusing on consumer products.
The Local Fishing Project involved 5 to 20 contracted fishermen each year selected through an open call, who targeted cyprinid fish, mainly bream and roach in the Archipelago Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia. Prior to launching the project, the Foundation, together with researchers and stakeholders, also established the principles of sustainable management fishing for the Local Fishing Project, to which all actors involved were committed.
The time is ripe for the success story of Finnish cyprinid fish
Five products for institutional kitchens and consumers were launched during the Local Fishing Project: Arkea’s Lähikalapihvi local fish patties (Kalaliike S. Wallin), Palmia’s Särkimurekepihvi roach loaf patty (Lagerblad Foods) and three Kesko Pirkka products (Apetit). The foundation has worked with other actors as a trailblazer in the sector: volumes of cyprinid fish products and producers have both grown.
Consumer awareness of the benefits of eating cyprinid fish has also grown. By raising awareness and engaging in cooperation, John Nurminen Foundation’s Local Fishing Project has succeeded in its main objective: creating a permanent domestic market for Finnish bream and roach fish products.
Bottlenecks and opportunities for commercialisation were solved with fishers and other stakeholders.
One of the most important lessons learned during the project was that there is a demand for cyprinid fish products if the price of the products is right, and it is also possible to meet the demand when all parts of the value chain work together in a coordinated way. There may be enough fish and demand, but the development needs in each stage of the value chains must be solved so that production and fishing volume and profitability can be stepped up in the future. Small producers shouldn’t be left in the lurch, either. Large actors in the chain thus need to be flexible, such as by forecasting the amounts of raw materials they need for products well in advance. Overcoming uncertainties and challenges to commercialisation calls for both technical investments and closer cooperation between primary producers and processors in the fishing industry and retail operators.
Although the Local Fishing Project has been completed, John Nurminen Foundation will continue to support the industry by participating in public discussion and sharing information about the benefits of eating cyprinid fish. In addition, the foundation promotes the commercialisation of the management fishing of cyprinid fish in Sweden and the Åland Islands in the Baltic Fish Project. John Nurminen Foundation seeks to disseminate the information gained during the Local Fishing Project to other actors and thereby ensure the availability and marketability of cyprinid fish products going forward.
Local Fishing Project
The sustainable management fishing of underutilised cyprinid fish will help reduce eutrophication in the Baltic Sea and provide consumers with a new source of protein that is friendly to both bodies of water and the climate. The John Nurminen Foundation’s Local Fishing Project ran from 2015 to 2019. It removed five tonnes of phosphorus from the Baltic Sea, created a market-driven value chain for cyprinid fish from sea to plate, and enhanced the image of cyprinid fish as food. The project received the Flying Saucer food culture award from the ELO Foundation in 2018. In 2015–2017, the Local Fishing Project participated as a pilot in NutriTrade – Piloting a Nutrient Trading Scheme in the Central Baltic, a project co-financed by the EU Interreg Central Baltic programme (2015–2018). NutriTrade developed innovative and cost-effective measures to reduce the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea. Read more on the final report of the Local Fishing Project.