With a little less than 50 km of coastline, fishers in Slovenia often need to be able to diversify. This is why the maritime school of Portorož partnered with local fishers and Istra fisheries local action group to launch an EU-funded training programme 'Be a fisher!', a project that fits well with the European Year of skills.
Slovenia needs new and young fishers if it wants to maintain and continue the fishing trade. At the same time, it is also necessary to improve knowledge and diversification opportunities for already active fishers.
After decades without any specific training for fishers, the Slovenian maritime secondary school in Portorož launched a training programme with a special focus on educating future fishers. A part of the training programme, this project has two objectives: to make the students better aware of the fisheries sector and the opportunities of this old trade; and to increase their maritime knowledge to create diversification opportunities through other fishing activities or in the broader maritime sector.
The project targeted fishers and students from the maritime high school, as well as participants from the local community. They gained search,rescue and survival at sea skills, as well as on-board medical care and firefighting – all very important in case of accidents at sea.
Active fishers also took high school students on trips to sea. This gave the students the opportunity to see practical demonstrations of the fishing profession, which they would otherwise not have been able to try.
This training was really important, not just for the students but also for other community members who took part. There was a man, just a few years from retirement, who had just lost his job. After the training, based on these new skills, he found a new job. He was the happiest person, indeed!
said Matjaž Radin, a fisher on whose boat the training took place.
With the purchase of modern equipment such as a navigation simulator for larger vessels and a modern first aid classroom, the participants received hands-on training and acquired useful skills.
The practical exercises, as well as navigation training, were the best part of the training. We need to know how to react in case of an accident – what to do, the rules and practices to follow to make it easier to survive in critical moments while waiting for help
said Aljaž Ravnikar, a maritime school student and training course participant.
The new equipment purchased in the course of this project will contribute to lifelong learning in the years to come, and hopefully ensure a steady succession of new generations of seafarers.
Exploring all options for the future
The “Be a fisher!” project is part of Slovenia’s comprehensive effort to promote fisheries and expand knowledge of the maritime professions, with a special focus on safety training and accident at sea preparedness.
The training programme is holistic. It also included gastronomic sessions run by local chefs, where the students learned about the importance of the local seafood. Together, the chefs and the students explored the connections between fisheries and gastronomy, shedding light on new diversification activities for fishers who understand the tastes of their customers.
So far, 15 future fishers took part in more than 15 training courses. The plan is to add more courses in the coming years.
Did you like this story?
Then also check out the Euronews Ocean episode on blue careers
Fisheries LAG website with project information: Make him a trained, informed fisherman! (las-istre.si)
- Publication date
- 26 April 2023
- Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries