FISH SCALE - Food Information and Safeguard of Habitat a Sustainable Consumption Approach in Local Environment

LIFE09 INF/IT/000076

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Contact details:

Contact person: Bruna VALETTINI
Tel: +39 010 2345268
Fax: +39 010 256160
Email: bvalettini@acquariodigenova.it

Project description:


The commercial fish market is heavily concentrated on certain fish species. As a consequence, some edible species have a low commercial value due to poor demand. According to the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, out of 719 edible fish species only 10% are currently commercialised. This is mainly due to modern food habits. Non-commercial species are hence classified as “by-catch” and usually discarded by industrial fisheries. Up to one fourth of the fish harvested - about 27 million tonnes - is discarded dead into the sea every year. This practice results in a huge waste of marine resources. It also alters marine biodiversity and reduces numbers of adult reproductive fish.


The FISH SCALE project addressed the problem of over-exploitation of marine resources and fishing discards by promoting a more sustainable use of the sea and by improving the protection of marine biodiversity in the Mediterranean. The project sought to change the attitudes of consumers by increasing their awareness of the importance of by-catch species. The project aimed to establish a virtuous cycle by stimulating greater demand for neglected fish species, thereby increasing their commercial value, leading in turn to a reduction in fish discards and hence, better preservation of marine biodiversity. To achieve this, the project aimed to develop integrated communication and demonstration actions involving the whole supply chain of the fishing sector, together with final consumers, so that they can become pro-active and discover mutual benefits in using currently neglected fish species.


The FISH SCALE project enhanced the use of marine fish species that are good to eat but little known and therefore under-exploited. During the project’s campaign, the purchase of the target under-exploited fish species increased, and the supply of such species has increased as well. By promoting the use of under-exploited fish, the project helped relieve pressure on populations of more exploited species, established a more sustainable use of marine resources by reducing the quantity of edible fish discards, and provided economic benefits for consumers because "sustainable" fish are generally cheaper. The project reached more than 100 "fish providers", including fishmongers, distributors, restaurants and hotels, to facilitate the inclusion of sustainable fish target species among the fish they supply, sell or offer on their menus. Around 2 000 people were directly involved in the project’s awareness-raising campaign via questionnaires and interviews, which led to an increase in awareness of the issues relating to edible discards by about 27%. The project also participated in 99 events and conducted an extensive media campaign. As a result of its activities, the supply and sale of its target sustainable species increased.

The innovative promotion of "sustainable fish" had a good demonstration value, because the sustainable species selected, on the basis of a study during the preliminary phase of the project, could be included in the supply of several "fish providers". This produced a beneficial "domino effect", from fishermen to distributors to final consumers, which led to the initiatives on "sustainable fish" being replicated outside the project area. From the socio-economical point of view, the project led, on the one hand, to the possibility of buying good fish at cheaper prices and, on the other, to the selling of a wider range of fish species so providers were not so dependent on over-exploited fish. For example, thanks to the project, 20% of the income of one fish distributor (Fish Box) is now coming from the sale of two sustainable fish species, which were not included in its offer before the project started. Moreover, the quantity of "sustainable fish" sold in supermarkets and other fish providers participating in the project has increased, by 14% to 70%, depending on the provider considered, despite the negative trend being observed in the total amount of fish sold in 2013.

The project beneficiaries have committed to promoting the project’s objectives during their ongoing education and dissemination activities, while restaurants, hotels and fish providers seem to be willing to continue to supply "sustainable fish" in the future. Therefore, project sustainability should be ensured, at least in the short term. Direct beneficial environmental effect from the project’s activities are due to the reduction of edible fish waste, and consequent waste treatment. Indirect environmental benefits include the reduction of pressure on some overfished species. All these benefits are in line with EU policy measures, such as programmes against overfishing (e.g. OCEAN12) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) that promotes sustainable fishing and fishing practices.

Project staff were invited by the Italian Ministry of Environment to share their experience with national policymakers. In particular, the Ministry has activated an agreement for qualified analysis and monitoring of real economies in protected areas (e.g. Natura 2000 network sites and protected marine areas), to promote sustainable fishing and to safeguard marine biodiversity. In this respect, the project can contribute to the elaboration of operational guidelines on how to monitor the actual use of sustainable fish and reduce the waste of edible fish. National policy is derived from the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC), which aims at achieving good environmental status of marine waters by 2020 and at protecting the resources upon which marine-related economic and social activities depend.


Environmental issues addressed:


Industry-Production - Agriculture - Forestry
Habitats - Marine


fishing industry‚  marine ecosystem‚  biodiversity‚  consumption pattern‚  environmental training‚  nature conservation

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Costa Edutainment S.p.A. (Acquario di Genova)
Type of organisation SME Small and medium sized enterprise
Description Costa Edutainment S.P.A is a company responsible for managing the education and dissemination activities of “Acquario di Genova” (the Aquarium of Genoa). “Acquario di Genova” is an educational, scientific and cultural body, which aims to raise awareness about the sustainable use and conservation of marine resources. The aquarium attracts about 1.3 million visitors per year (including about 120 000 students).
Partners Legambiente, Italy Softeco Sismat Spa, Italy AGCI Agrital, Italy Legapesca, Italy Coop Liguria, Italy


Project reference LIFE09 INF/IT/000076
Duration 01-OCT-2010 to 30-SEP -2013
Total budget 1,074,026.00 €
EU contribution 537,013.00 €
Project location Liguria(Italia)


Read more:

Leaflet "Pesce ritrovato by Fish Scale" (602 KB)
Poster "Pesce ritrovato, piacere di conoscerlo : quando l ...
Poster "Pesce ritrovato : piacere di conoscerlo ! in ogni ...
Project web site Project's website
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Pedagogical tool "Pesce ritrovato : piacere di conoscerlo in ogni s ...
Publication: Pedagogical tool "Le schede delle ricette" (2.247 KB)
Publication: Technical report Project's Final technical report


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version