EU Maritime Day Public Seminar – People, Place and Fish: towards understanding the importance of inshore fishing to communities in the English Channel and southern North Sea

Fishing is important not just for economic livelihoods, but plays an important socio-cultural role in terms of heritage, sense of place, local identity and social cohesion. This presentation will report on work carried out in two EU Interreg funded projects GIFS (Geography of inshore fishing and sustainability) and CHARM III (Channel Integrated Approach for Marine Resource Management). In CHARM III sense of place was used as a framework to explore the cultural ecosystem services that marine fishing provides. In the GIFS project this work has been developed. Firstly, through a survey across fishing places in southern/eastern England, northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands, where people’s attachments to fishing places will be measured. Secondly, community, researcher and professional photography will be used to understand the diverse landscapes of fishing across the region and how these landscapes are shaping the practice of fishing and the character of those places. Alongside this sense of place research GIFS is now addressing numerous other ways that the importance of marine fishing can be felt in coastal communities. This presentation will include report on the role of women in fisheries and their contribution to the social cohesion of coastal communities focusing in particular on three countries: Belgium, England and the Netherlands.

Presented by Dr Tim Acott, Dr Julie Urquhart (School of Science) and Dr Minghua Zhao (Greenwich Maritime Institute), University of Greenwich

VENUE: Royal George Room (180), Queen Anne Court, University of Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London, SE10 9LS

TIME: 18:00

DATE: Monday 20th May 2013

There will be time for questions and answers and a drinks reception will follow.

Places are free but please book a place in advance by contacting:
Greenwich Maritime Institute, University of Greenwich
Email: ( Tel: 020 8331 7688

For more information about the London Universities Maritime Law and Policy Research Group please see our website:

The European Maritime Day is celebrated annually across Europe on 20 May.
It shows the importance of the sea and oceans for everyday life, both in coastal communities and in landlocked areas across Europe. It also highlights the opportunities and challenges currently facing maritime regions and sectors.

GMI Interviews Women in the Fishing Industry

Researchers from the Greenwich Maritime Institute, Dr Minghua Zhao and Esther Copete, spent two weeks in Belgium and the Netherlands during August 2012, conducting fieldwork which investigates women’s role and contribution to fisheries in the EU. The research is part of a three-year, €4.6 million project, Geography of Inshore Fishing and Sustainability (GIFS), funded by Interreg Iva 2 Seas.

During the fieldwork the researchers had the opportunity to meet the president of the Women in Fisheries Network in the Netherlands who spoke about their activities and their concerns about the industry’s future.

More than 20 interviews were conducted in selected fishing communities in the two countries. In Breskens the team had the opportunity to interview three fisher wives who spoke about their lives and answered questions related to the components of social cohesion. They expressed their views on the women’s roles in their communities and their main concerns regarding their husbands’ jobs, providing the researchers with an insight into the community’s views of the fishing sector.

The researchers also had the opportunity to interview the female Sales Manager of a Breskens-based company supplying fish to wholesalers and retailers across Europe. They also met and talked to the only local fisherwoman in the history of Breskens and her family members who have continued with the business.

The School of Fishing is located in Vlissingen and several students were interviewed as well as their partners. This provided the team with an idea of the younger generation’s view of and level of confidence in the sector.

The GMI research team received strong support from the local partners in both countries. They would like to take this opportunity to register their most sincere thanks. 

More information about the work of GIFS can be found on their website


Dr Minghua Zhao