Six FLAGs are working together to expand a network of diving and snorkeling trails that adhere to common standards of sustainability. The project, “Dive our islands”, was started by three FLAGs in 2008 and aims to promote the attractiveness of their areas and increase public-awareness and protection of the seas. The expanded partnership gives new impetus to preserving the diversity of the islands involved and differentiating their tourism offer.
The FLAGs have mobilised tourism agencies, diving centres and fishermen in identifying relevant areas and developing the activities to promote within them. The monitoring of marine biodiversity by fishermen and researchers is also being integrated to the initiative to ensure any potential impacts of tourism activities on marine life are analysed.
The partnership has developed printed and online promotional material with a common visual identity for the diving trails. It has also organised a large conference to raise awareness among fishermen, tourism agencies and entrepreneurs of the role that diving parks can play in promoting marine conservation while securing a sustainable income for local people. A long-term objective of the project is for some of the areas to become officially recognised diving parks with protected status.
The different partners now benefit from an established network which facilitates the promotion of their areas and the obtaining of feedback from other communities. As well as the printed material and conference, a designated website, Facebook page and App are all contributing to promoting a sustainable use of their natural heritage.
This initiative could offer a model for other FLAG areas where diving potential could be enhanced and its sustainability improved. The cooperation between different areas allows lessons to be drawn while boosting the visibility of those in the network.
Lessons & contribution to CLLD objectives:
Lessons: The cooperation between the partners allowed the fast delivery of results and strengthened the historical ties between the two countries. During its implementation, the participation and support of the Greek and Cypriot managing authorities were an important factor for the success of the project and its completion in a timely manner.
Contribution to CLLD objective: supporting diversification outside commercial fisheries