Fishermen in Ibiza are pioneering innovative solutions that can help reduce the damage to the marine environment while supporting their livelihoods. Marilles Foundation has established a strong partnership with the Cofradia de Pescadores de Ibiza to strengthen their leadership and inspire others to follow.
In 2022 the Ibiza Fishermen’s Association will celebrate its centenary. The association supports fishermen by providing essential infrastructure to market fish landings. They register landings, label the fish and ensure it is properly stored in large fridges before distribution. They also work intensely to promote local produce and to raise awareness via environmental education activities.
A particularity of this association is that contrary to others in the Balearics or around the Med, they do not hold auctions and they have never done. Instead, they collectively agreed a fix price for each species at the start of the year. This means that in the summer, when demand is high, the fish is sold to a lower price than what they would get in an auction, but in winter they get a better price than what they would otherwise get. This provides economic stability and helps fishermen plan their effort throughout the year, which reduces fishing pressure. Last year Marilles granted the Fishermen’s Association with 70,000 Euros to support their work on promoting Ibiza Fisheries Reserves in Es Freus (between Ibiza and Formentera) and Tagomago. The project aims to bring locals and visitors closer to the marine reserves of Tagomago, learn more about them and make them feel a part of it. The ultimate goal is to help people understand that these fisheries reserves are a critical asset to Ibiza and their benefits go beyond the increase in fish and revenues for fishermen.
The project targets three key audiences: schools, local population including tourists and other fishermen. Last November they brought together 30 fishermen from Ibiza and Formentera to exchange views and to hear from innovative experiences from other parts of Spain. Fishermen expressed their commitment to responsible fishing as a means of guaranteeing sustainability and food security.
With regards to schools, the Ibiza Fishermen’s Association has set up workshops, carried out surveys among students and prepared the ground for schools photography competition. They will replicate some of these activities to the wider public organizing talks, round-tables, and field trips among others.
‘The fishermen don’t just fish, they also take part in research projects, educational activities and organize local fairs to encourage consumption of local fish species which are becoming less popular overtime such as “gerret” (pickerel), “moll” (red mullet) and “sepia” (cuttlefish)’ says Marga Serra, Marine reserves project coordinator.
We believe we have an opportunity to transform the Balearic fishing fleet into one of the most sustainable ones of the Mediterranean. Fishermen in Ibiza are in prime position to lead the way and we will keep working to make sure many others follow soon.