The FLAG area consists of a combination of mountainous and coastal landscapes. It possesses Greece’s largest lagoon (the Messolonghi lagoon). The Messolonghi municipality is mainly flat with sandy coastlines while Nafpaktia is hillier with a pebble coastline. In recent years, there has been a small increase in the area’s population, despite social indicators revealing that the population is aging as young people abandon the area looking for opportunities in the cities. The main economic activities in the area are agriculture, fishing and tourism.
Most of the fishing activity is small-scale and traditional and takes place in the Messolonghi lagoon. The main species of fish in the area are sea bass, sea bream, mullet, eel, codfish, anchovies and sardines. Aquaculture is also developed in the area with 12 operating units.
The specific challenges here are unemployment, an ageing population, the insufficient processing of farming and fisheries products, low exploitations of renewable sources of energy and a lack of tourism infrastructure.
There are four protected areas covering 14% of the total surface of the FLAG.
The FLAG intends to enhance entrepreneurship and job creation by supporting the processing of farming and fisheries products, motivating businesses towards the exploitation of renewable sources of energy. They aim also to promote networking between areas, institutions and enterprises, for the exchange of know-how and good practices.
One idea that they would like to implement is “the centre of virtual re-enactment of battle of Lepanto”, which aims to promote the history and cultural heritage of the area.
The development agency’s membership includes the municipalities involved, agricultural organisations, local piscatorial cooperatives, environmental associations, commercial associations, an association for people with special needs, the local nautical association and the bio-agricultural association of western Greece.