Known as TourFish, or Tourism for inshore fishing, food and sustainability, the partnership brings together two existing European projects funded by the Interreg IVa 2 Seas programme. These are GIFS (Geography of Inshore Fishing and Sustainability) and Fish & Chips, a network of European Food Regions.
TourFish will host an international conference about food, fisheries and tourism in Hastings on 23 and 24 June. The conference will bring together farmers, fishers, tourism professionals and educationalists from the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Packed with demonstrations, exhibitions and interactive thematic conference sessions, this event will focus on how agro-food, fisheries and tourism can work together to deliver new opportunities for sustainable development along the coast and in their respective towns and countryside.
Environmental geographers Dr Tim Acott and Dr Julie Urquhart, from the university’s Faculty of Engineering & Science, are leading TourFish. The pair have also been leading a €4.6 million project, GIFS, to help regenerate coastal fishing communities in England and France.
Dr Acott said: “This new funding will really help us to build on the work we have been doing on the social and cultural importance of inshore fishing. By drawing on the idea of responsible tourism, we are trying to think about new economic opportunities associated with inshore fishing, in ways that include fishers themselves, and help build regional identity.”
Alongside the conference, an outdoor photo exhibition will take place, including work by photo journalist Vince Bevan about the importance of inshore fishing for coastal communities.
“Our conference in Hastings will be a landmark event in this subject area and we hope it will lay the foundation for new initiatives that benefit coastal towns and communities,” Dr Acott added.
TourFish also aims to promote regional branding and responsible tourism, and to identify new opportunities to boost economic growth.