The FLAG area is situated in western Greece, in the north-western part of the Peloponnese peninsula. It includes the coastal areas of the municipalities of Patras, Aigialeia and West Achaia.
The economic as well as the social life of the area is influenced by the two urban areas of Patras and Aigio. The tertiary economic sector accounts for the largest part of economic activity and includes tourism along the west coast, however parts of the area also have remarkable dynamism in the production and processing of agricultural products (especially wine, olive oil and vegetables).
Fisheries and aquaculture are concentrated mainly in the western part of the area and to a lesser extent in Aigialeia. These activities consist mainly of coastal fishermen with small sized vessels. A very large part of the coastal economy is indirectly dependent on fishing, as many activities such as tourism, food services and commerce benefit from marine products.
Some of the area’s main challenges include the need for diversification, the strengthening of the weak processing sector and the linking of the maritime economy with tourism and the fisheries heritage of coastal areas. The protection and promotion of the area’s coastal ecosystems is also a concern.
The FLAG area includes five Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) and three Special Protection Areas (SPAs). These sites/areas cover 200 km2 (27%) of the FLAG area. They are mostly found in West Achaia and consist of a lagoon (Limnothalassa) and the wetlands of Kalogria, the forest (Dasos) of Strofylia and the Lamia Marshes (Elos).
The main strategic objectives of the FLAG include:
During the 2014-2020 programming period, two cooperation projects are envisaged: Bio-monitoring of marine mammals by developing an innovative ecotourism service (an inter-territorial project) and Wetland Life (a transnational project).
The FLAG shares a legal structure with the local LEADER LAG and their territories overlap. They also have a common Programme Management Committee which allows them to share strategies. The FLAG also cooperates with other FLAGs nearby and throughout Greece.
The development agency’s membership, which dates back to before the setting up of the FLAG, includes the municipalities of West Achaia, Kalavrita, Aigialeia, Patras and Erymanthos and the regional union of municipalities of Western Greece, the Kalavrita ski centre, the agricultural dairy cooperative of Kalavrita, the local chamber of commerce and industry, the centre for the local development of West Achaia, the Achaia young farmers’ association, the hoteliers association of Achaia, the local agricultural cooperatives union and the oil and wine productions agricultural cooperative of Patras.
Although no fisheries actors are formal members of the association, a local fisheries organisation sits on the project selection board of the FLAG.