The FLAG area covers the six coastal municipalities of the region of Murcia in southern Spain. It stretches over 312km of coastline and includes the biggest saltwater lagoon in the Mediterranean, the Mar Menor. The local economy is based strongly on tourism in the north of the area, especially around the Mar Menor, while agriculture (mainly fruit and vegetables) is very present in Cartagena, Mazarrón and Àguilas.
Fishing and aquaculture are important activities, with a strong presence of marine aquaculture. Indeed, with an annual turnover of €75M, Murcia is the second most important region in Spain for aquaculture (after Galicia) and the first for marine fish. It is home to a number of both local and foreign aquaculture companies which produce mainly sea bream and sea bass, as well as on-growing bluefin tuna. Alongside these aquaculture activities, the area has a fishing fleet of 189 boats, over 80% of which are small-scale, targeting a range of species from langoustines, bream and mullet. The region also has a special management plan for species such as eel and nonnat.
In terms of challenges, the small-scale sector is poorly organised in terms of adding value and marketing. There are no Producer Organisations in the area and no quality labels for the local catch. Moreover, only one of six municipalities undertakes any fish processing. On top of this, the sector faces pressure from uncontrolled leisure fishing as well as its aging population and few new opportunities for the young within the sector.
The FLAG covers 12 Natura 2000 and three marine protected areas, including the Cabo de Palos fishing reserve, designated in 2015 as Europe’s best diving location by the Cousteau Foundation.
The FLAG’s strategy aims to foster local socio-economic development, related both directly and indirectly to the area’s fishing and aquaculture activities. Its overarching objectives include the creation of jobs and the strengthening of social cohesion in the area, focusing on four areas in particular:
The full strategy can be found at the following link.
Given their commonalities, GALPEMUR is eager to cooperate with other Mediterranean FLAGs and participate in the network of Mediterranean FLAGs, initiated in the 2007-2013 period.
GALPEMUR is made up of 34 member organisations, including: