The FLAG area covers 262 203 square kilometres and 3.55% of its population is employed in fisheries or aquaculture. In the region, maricultural activities are extensive and intensive. This includes the farming of seafood species such as bream and sea bass. There are also shellfish farms and mussel farms. Catches are sold either in bulk or retailed without processing or packaging.
The seacoast area has a natural environment of unique beauty with small organised shelters and clean and attractive beaches but seriously lacks organised high level tourism facilities and services. The tourism season is therefore very short and there is no exploitation of the beauty of the hinterland. There is a big challenge here to develop this sector.
The area has two Natura 2000 areas which cover 85.31 km2 (or 32% of the entire FLAG area).
The main objective of the FLAG strategy is to enhance the sustainability of fisheries sector. This will be achieved through support for projects in the fisheries and aquaculture sector and environmental protection, as well as projects enhancing business competitiveness and the income and opportunities of the residents of the fishing areas.
The FLAG is multi-funded. It receives funding both from the EMMF and the EAFRD.
The FLAG has not approved any project yet. Project ideas include supporting processing and trade, improving the quality of life of the fisheries communities, the promotion of the natural and residential environment along with its protection.
The FLAG is new in the fishery sector and therefore has no experience in the specific operating field. However, in terms of cooperation the FLAG is interested in transnational and interregional activities related to food processing and gastronomy.
There is one inter-territorial cooperation project envisaged that will focus on pilot collection and disposal of waste from the sea bed, from fishermen. The aim is to explore the possibility of developing a business that will create additional income for fishermen.
The members in the partnership include the Region of Ipeiros. the municipalities of Ioannina and Thesprotia, local fisheries co-operatives, the association of municipalities of the region of Epirus, the chambers of commerce of Ioannina and Thesprotia, the agricultural associations of Ioannina and Thesprotia and Piraeus Bank.