Green Federation GAJA
Green Federation GAJA (GFG) is a regional organisation based in Szecin in north-western Poland. The organization began as an informal ecological movement in 1991 known as “Gaja”, and in 1993 the members decided to join the existing Green Federation network.
GFG is very goal-orientated and often has a practical focus to its projects. It does a combination of local, regional and national works, combining practical conservation action with public campaigns and lobbying of the government.
One of the main aims of GFG is activities concerning the development of sustainable fisheries in the Baltic Sea. The fisheries policy work focuses on raising public awareness on the situation of the Baltic fish stocks, particularly cod and salmon, and influencing national and European fisheries policy. This is done through a range of activities. With support from FISH, GFG employs a full time Fisheries Officer since October 2007.
In 2008, the Fisheries Officer was responsible for two major projects; an investigation scrutinizing the Polish fisheries control system and a mobile exhibition illustrating the problems associated with overfishing in the Baltic Sea. An end result of the investigation on the Polish fisheries control system is a report, “Evaluation of the Polish fisheries control system”, and can be found in both, English and Polish, on the FISH website under Publications. An update of the report in Polish was released in the fall of 2010 and the English version will be published on FISH website in early 2011. The mobile exhibition, on the other hand, travelled in coastal towns of Poland in 2009 and 2010. For 2011 the organisation has received funding from Baltic2020 to expand the exhibition and include within it screenings of the film ‘End of the line’ (a film about the consequences of overfishing based on the book with the same title by Charles Clover). The funding will also cover continued annual update of the control report.
GFG has also had a long-term engagement in the management of inland fisheries, particularly in the local rivers. One area of work is the restoration of wild salmon populations which became extinct in Polish rivers in the 1980s. The organisation has also been involved in combating salmon poaching in rivers and streams, lobbying for the building of fish passes and restoring salmon spawning grounds. GFG is a member of the CCB network.
In 2009, GFG started a project to protect the few stocks of natural salmon occurring in rivers in Western Pomeranian region in Poland. They have, along with regional angling associations and authorities, managed to improve patrol along rivers. With the support from the Volunteer Fish Guards, regular night patrols have proven to be effective deterrents against poaching. A leaflet of the detrimental effects of poaching has been developed and distributed to the public to raise awareness on this issue. The project has recently received funding from the National and Voivodship Fund for Environment Protecation and Water Management, meaning that this project will continue in 2011. To read more on this effort, please read the FISH News story.
In 2011 Green Federation GAJA plans to continue its antipoaching activity. Promotion of VFGs groups and River’s Associations will be kept. There’s no doubt Green Federation GAJA is interested in effective elimination of fish poaching in the region, however possibilities of future activity in this area depend on external sponsors and their funds
Outside of fisheries GFG is active in a number of fields aiming at improving Poland’s natural environment such as environmental education, waste management, meadow conservation, monitoring the flow of public funds intended for the protection of the natural environment in Poland, monitoring and informing about investments potentially dangerous for the natural environment of the Baltic Sea and the “Green Bottle” campaign, implementing a new Polish law on refillable bottles.
GFG informs about events, regulations and actions, both on its website and by press releases.