Lyme Bay fishermen are leading the way in sustainable fishing practices as counterparts from across the Mediterranean visit Lyme Regis and West Bay to find out how they do it.

Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), the UK-based marine conservation charity, brought together fishermen from Greece, France, Italy, Turkey and Cyprus with those from Lyme Bay for the European Small-Scale Fisheries Exchange to share their knowledge and ideas on how to ensure sustainable fishing practices.

The Lyme Bay fishermen are the pioneers of a ‘world first’ model which was introduced by BLUE in 2012 and involves sensitive management to achieve increased catches, improved landing infrastructure, higher levels of job satisfaction and the revival of marine habitats.

Since the Lyme Bay Fisheries and Conservation Reserve was established, fisherman are also enjoying premium prices for their catch because of its quality and traceability.

The Lyme Bay fishermen also met with their counterparts from the Aeolian Islands, north of Sicily, who have also successfully piloted the model within their marine protected area. Both Lyme Bay and the Aeolians were under threat from overfishing.

The visiting fishermen also learnt about the reserve from the scientists, marine regulators, and conservationists at its heart.

Rory Moore, senior project manager at BLUE, said: “The Lyme Bay Fisheries and Conservation Reserve sets a great example for small-scale, sustainable fishermen who fish within marine reserves in the Mediterranean.

“The model could transform the future of inshore fishing, reserving declines in marine life and reinvigorating coastal communities.

“Often marine protected areas don’t work because they lack support from or do not provide support to artisanal fishermen.

“Exchange of knowledge, ideas and experience is the best way to build that support.”

For more information on the Lyme Bay Fisheries and Conservation, visit