The Kraimorie district in Burgas, Bulgaria, is a community of only 851 souls, known for its long tradition in fishing and fish farming. At the same time, Kraimorie also projects some wider global trends. Worldwide, like in Kraimorie, small coastal communities are struggling to preserve their identity through upholding and developing their centuries’ old livelihoods and tradecraft. Meanwhile, climate change is also making its mark in Kraimorie, as the coastline on which it depends, is suffering from landslip and erosions, caused by progressively more severe storms and flooding. In recent years, thanks to support from the European Union, both these existential issues have been addressed.
At the heart of the solution is a covered boat shelter, constructed with supported from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The shelter is the first of its kind in Bulgaria and has been built in a pioneering way. The immediate purpose of the shelter is to improve the safety and working conditions for the local small-scale coastal fishing operations, but it has been constructed in such a way as to protect the coastline from erosion.
The shelter has capacity for 54 boats: 10 berths for vessels of 9–12 m, 16 berths for vessels of 6–9 m, and 28 berths for vessels up to 6 m. It includes northern and southern enclosed malls and an area with service facilities and a checkpoint. Research was conducted to identify the best location. Ideally situated between the fishing communities of Kraimorie, Chengene Skele and Pobed, allows for serving the largest possible number of users (between 50-60 fishers are using it at the moment).
The EU-funded facility helps to preserve local fishing traditions and will allow further growth of artisanal fishing. The municipality of Burgas also hopes that the structural improvement will make the area more attractive for maritime tourism and stimulate economic growth. Five new jobs were created for maintenance and guarding of the structure, alone.
But the purpose of the shelter was not only economic: the facility, apart from providing coastal protection from marine erosion and landslips, was built without changing the natural depth of the water (between one and three meters), so as to avoid the damage that dredging could cause to marine creatures and plants living on the sea bed.
The successful shelter project is in line with the objectives of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region: Creating prosperity and supporting fishing communities in the coastal regions by creating new jobs and improving working and safety conditions for the fishers; and environmental protection, restoration and maintenance of water quality and risk management of climate change.
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