The Cyclades Archipelago is made up of 24 small islands; 16 of which have a population of less than 3 000 people. This means that both human and economic resources are fragmented here. The economy of the area in recent years has been focused on tourism to the detriment of the primary and secondary sectors.
Despite this, the fisheries sector remains particularly important. About 98% of fishing vessels in the area are small coastal boats. Commercial fisheries help to maintain local residents in the area all year round. This is particularly helpful given that tourist income tends to peak in the summer months. Fishing equipment used by coastal fishermen in the Cyclades includes nets, longlines, trawls, traps and pelagic long lines. The catch in the Cyclades is mostly composed of mullets, scorpion fish, snappers, bogues and picarels.
Challenges here include access to markets and public transport due to the difficult geography. Since the economic crisis of 2009, unemployment has increased dramatically leading many young people in particular to leave the area in search of opportunities elsewhere. It should also be remembered that coastal fishermen here have less days at sea each year compared to coastal fishermen from the rest of Greece. This is attributed to the particularly rough weather conditions that characterise this area.
There are 33 Natura 2000 areas within the FLAG area encompassing an area of 1 835,72 km2 including marine sites.
The FLAG’s strategy aims to protect the uniqueness (both cultural and environmental) of these islands and to promote sustainable development. This will be achieved mainly through tourism and marine activities, the creation and/or improvement of infrastructure, the improvement of services for marine activities and the implementation of cooperation projects.
The approved funding for the programme is €6 150 000 (€2 550 000 from the EMFF and €6 150 000 from the EAFRD).
Project ideas include:
The FLAG is willing to share its experience in gastronomy, cultural issues and environmental protection. They are particularly interested in transnational cooperation on wooden and traditional shipbuilding, and lighthouses.
Cooperation projects currently envisaged include “Marine environment conservation, coastal threats and fisheries”. The purpose of this project is inter-regional cooperation between coastal and island FLAGs of the country on the topic of marine conservation. The main objective is recording, mapping and prioritisation of risks faced by Greek marine areas, related to fisheries and coastal areas. Another project foreseen involves cooperation between areas with significant port infrastructure.
Region of South Aegean, the municipalities of Cyclades, the regional union of municipalities of the south Aegean, the chamber of Cyclades, the union of agricultural associations of the islands of Cyclades and Argosaronikos, the union of Tinos hotels, the Hellenic society for the study and protection of the monk seal.
Although no fisheries actors are formal members of the association, a local fisheries organisation sits on the project selection board of the FLAG.