For their yearly partnership meeting, the RETROUT project team members met in Stockholm from 1 to 2 October 2018 to report on the current state of the project and devise on future approaches and activities to be included in an updated of the work plan. With a focus on sea trout, the RETROUT project seeks to promote the Baltic Sea region as a major coastal fishing tourism destination.
"Fishing tourism in the Baltic sea has a very large potential that is not yet fully realised, for instance due to poor environmental condition of some rivers in the Baltic Sea region," said Håkan Häggström, the RETROUT Project Lead coordinator from the County Administrative Board of Stockholm. "With RETROUT, we want to tie together river restoration with sustainable economic growth driven by fishing tourism in coastal areas."
The RETROUT project particularly resonates with the ecosystem approach in maritime spatial planning currently promoted by HELCOM, considering the needs and interlinkages of both healthy ecosystems and economic and social development.
In Stockholm, HELCOM chaired the separate work group session for the RETROUT work package on 'Assessment of status and management of sea trout rivers and stocks.'
The aim of this HELCOM-led work package is to assess the status of and pressures on sea trout rivers and stocks, notably caused by recreational fishing. HELCOM also evaluates different river restoration methods and best practices, to provide recommendations on river and stock management.
"At this stage of the project, it is now time to move on from plans to action. I see an interesting year ahead, with good progress on sea trout stock and habitat assessments. This is crucial information for successful river restorations," said Henri Jokinen, the RETROUT Project manager at HELCOM.
The HELCOM work is in line with the HELCOM 2013 Ministerial Agreements on salmon and sea trout, and supports the HELCOM Recommendation 32-33/1 "Conservation of Baltic Salmon (Salmo salar) and Sea Trout (Salmo trutta) populations by the restoration of their river habitats and management of river fisheries."
The outcomes of the RETROUT project will also feed into the update process of the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP), HELCOM's strategic tool for a healthy Baltic Sea and that already calls for plans on river restoration and management of coastal fish species among others.
The results will notably facilitate the so-called "analysis of sufficiency of measures", indicating whether current actions to reach the BSAP objectives are yielding the expected results or not.
With 14 partners from Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, and including HELCOM, RETROUT is a three-year project running until September 2020 and promoting the Baltic Sea region as a coastal fishing tourism destination.
RETROUT is a flagship project of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region Policy Area Bioeconomy. It is co-financed by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme under the Natural resources priority field.
For more information:
Henri JokinenRETROUT Project firstname.lastname@example.org