The massive digital transition in the EU creates an opportunity to reconcile environmental and socio-economic issues in the fisheries and seafood sector. It offers solutions to better manage fisheries’ activities and increase transparency and traceability, and it also plays a key role in the transition towards a truly sustainable blue economy. However, the digital transition in the fisheries sector also comes with significant challenges for some actors, especially small-scale fisheries (SSF). Modernizing SSF is crucial as they represent a large portion of employment in the fisheries sector (80 to 90%), responsible for about half of fish captures, and are challenged by the evolution of fish stocks and competition with other coastal activities.


The Fish-X Project is a technology and open-source driven project. It is a 3-year project and is co-funded by the Horizon Europe Program. The project aims at developing a Fisheries Dataspace (Fish-X), an Insight Platform, and a Traceability Application to support the objectives of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the EU Green Deal, and the EU Farm to Fork Strategy. It aims to overcome key sets of challenges, including the following: 1) collection and sharing of data, in particular from small-scale and recreational fisheries; and 2) accessing, managing, and utilizing data to strengthen the monitoring and control as well as the sustainability of EU fisheries. Fish-X will take advantage of innovations in open interoperable technology via Gaia-X to put the fishers at the center of the seafood supply chain. This will serve a triple objective of fish population preservation, protection of the marine environment, and socio-economic development.

The Fish-X Project is developing the tools, the Fisheries’ Dataspace (Fish-X), a Traceability App, and an Insight Platform, to support the digital transition of SSF. The dataspace and platform will allow users to visualize and better understand fishing activities while also protecting fishers’ privacy. The Traceability Application will focus on making the supply chains of SSF transparent to consumers and thereby benefiting the fishers through increased visibility and economic returns. The project will try to conciliate two main usages of the digital transition, supporting the evolution of monitoring & control while providing market-oriented information for fishers’ benefit. Various stakeholders, such as small-scale fisheries, fishermen associations, regulators, relevant ministries, and decision-makers, will participate in the consultative process of developing and refining new technologies. They will be involved through consultation and co-creation in developing the project, ensuring a fair digital transition for small-scale fisheries, and considering the changes and revisions to the updated CFP.


The project is being implemented by seven European organizations, called consortium partners, that include:

  • TransMarTech Schleswig-Holstein (TMT, Germany)
  • EU Tech Chamber (EUTECH, Germany)
  • Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS, France)
  • (Germany)
  • Sciaena (Portugal)
  • OURZ (Germany)
  • WWF EPO (Belgium)

Fish-X Community

Under this EU Horizon Europe Program, the Fish-X Project is a platform for community engagement, with EU fisheries at the center and relevant actors around it to work hand in hand to achieve the objectives of the project.

In order to tailor the key deliverables, such as the Fisheries Dataspace (Fish-X), the Insight Platform, and the Traceability App, to the needs of EU fisheries, structured consultation, and dialogue with the external stakeholder groups, as defined in the following diagram, are imperative.

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For collaboration, Fish-X distinguishes amongst three types of actors to work on the following four action areas: “governance and policy”, “data collection & traceability framework”, “digital infrastructure and equipment”, and “EU fisheries skills, behaviour, and practices”. Firstly, key actors are those organizations that will work very closely with the project, and they are the direct beneficiaries of it. Secondly, primary actors are the promoters of the project. Thirdly, secondary actors receive the updates of the project and are indirect beneficiaries.

Fish-X Goals

The goals of Fish-X Project are defined as follows:

  • Fight Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing
  • Promote a sustainable use of common natural resources
  • Support honest fishers and help to generate fair economic returns
  • Foster synergies between fisheries, authorities, supply chain actors, and consumers
  • Advance the digital transition for small-scale and recreational fisheries
  • Contribute to traceable, healthy, and sustainable food

Fish-X Outcomes and Impact

The main outcomes and impact of the Fish-X Project are elaborated hereunder:

  1. Fish-X Dataspace

The Fish-X Dataspace will enable the creation of a data ecosystem. A common place where fisheries-related data can be offered to those institutions and services that require or desire information on fish catch or vessel monitoring systems. Building on Gaia-X federation services, data owners can ensure reliable and trustworthy ways of exchanging data while keeping full control of their data. By offering this digital solution, the establishment of information transfer can not only satisfy regulatory requirements but also provide an added value to fisheries data utilization and commodity value.

  • Fish-X Insight Platform

The Insight Platform is a user-friendly web-based interface to visualize and better understand fishing activities. It uses vessel locations, activity reports, and environmental data together to analyse the patterns of fishing activities. It supports the adaptation of digital systems for small-scale fishing boats and allows for the sharing of general information while protecting fishers’ privacy.

Key features are:

  • Special insights by analyzing data
  • Using Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Technologies
  • Simple user interface
  • Fish-X Traceability Application

The Fish-X traceability application will aim to provide the highest possible degree of transparency across European seafood supply chains while also adopting the overall Fish-X project focus of SSF. It targets efficient traceability of the seafood supply chain from the point of catch to the final point of sale. Following the approach of digital traceability and utilizing blockchain technology, it will be ensured that the relevant data necessary for a transparent display of the supply chains is recorded and transmitted for every step of a seafood product. The Fish-X traceability application will furthermore be developed in a user-friendly and easy-to-use manner to secure a successful implementation.

Key features are:

  • Efficient traceability and transparent supply chains of seafood products
  • Increased visibility of SSF
  • Enabling an informed consumer decision making process
  • Technology Use Cases

The Fish-X Project will produce three technology use cases, throughout which the implementation of the developed digital tools will be tested in order to analyze and report on their respective utility and performance with regard to the currently prevailing challenges in SFF.

  • Mediterranean

For this use case, Croatia has been selected because of the importance of SSF and recreational fisheries and to monitor their environmental impact. Some Greek fishers might be selected in cooperation with the STARFISH project, which has already installed VMS tracking devices (NEMO) on 70 small fishing boats along with some other interested groups. Engagement actions will promote acceptance by small-scale fishers of digital tools like electronic logbooks, and electronic gear marking. Practical demonstrations will be organized with local partners, addressing various types of VMS solutions, sea trials of electronic gear tracking, lost gear recovery, verification of landings and fishing effort, logging REM events, etc. Digital tools will be defined by the needs as expressed by testing partners to encourage uptake of technologies and remove access and skill barriers. The target is to integrate monitoring and testing into the Insight platform.

  • Atlantic

This use case will monitor compliance with new fisheries regulations (VMS, electronic logbook, landing declaration) in Atlantic fisheries from Portuguese and/or Spanish communities. This would include anonymized VMS tracks, verification of consistency between landings and fishing effort Met-ocean and cetacean distribution maps (an index of the risk of cetacean bycatch), and other onboard digital tools to be defined by the needs as expressed by testing partners to encourage uptake of technologies and remove access and skills barriers. The target is to integrate monitoring and testing data into the insight platform.

  • Baltic/Northern Sea

The Baltic/Northern Sea use case will target German fisheries (potentially to be expanded to other Baltic countries if found feasible) to focus on traceability and promote the acceptance of the Fish-X traceability application by small-scale fishers. The overall aim is to establish an efficient traceability framework which builds on the tools and systems already in place within the sector (e.g., VMS tracks, electronic logbooks, landing declarations). The development of the traceability application will be based on continuous feedback from stakeholders throughout the fisheries supply chain and in consultation with a few selected testing partners. The final traceability application will thus be in close alignment with the specific needs as expressed by relevant actors as well as designed with a strong focus on the consumers.

  • EU Fisheries Roadmap for Digitalization

One of the primary goals of the Fish-X Project is to create a roadmap that will support the digitalization of the fishing industry across Europe by addressing the main challenges that may hinder its progress and ensuring its smooth implementation. Throughout the roadmap, four major action areas have been formulated (see the Fish-X diagram). Additionally, by carrying out a thorough stakeholder analysis, various stakeholders have been identified as key elements with regard to a successful digitalization of the EU SSF.

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Having gone through all these details about the Fish-X Project, we can say that it is a step towards the digitalization of SSF in EU that would result in a more sustainable blue economy and provide a great support to fishers and relevant stakeholders in several ways. Fish-X believes in a common responsibility to foster sustainable fisheries and marine biodiversity and drives digital innovation to support the sustainable exploitation of common natural resources.

Fish-X welcomes interested organisations, individuals, and concerned citizens to join the initiative and participate in Fish-X events and other activities. Fish-X believes in strong stakeholder engagement and regularly conducts webinars, working group meetings, and conferences to learn and share the latest developments.

Learn more about Fish-X

To learn more about the Fish-X Project, please visit our website and subscribe to our newsletter and social media channels via links given below: