The La Plana FLAG area covers the provinces of the three coastal regions of Baix Maestrat, Plana Alta and Plana Baixa. The services industry, particularly hospitality and tourism, represents 85% of the FLAG area’s economic activity. Contrastingly, fisheries and aquaculture only account for 5% of employment. Over a five-year period, fishing activity has reduced, and the number of active fishing vessels has decreased by more than 10%.
While the types and size of fishing vessels vary, the majority of vessels are small-scale trawlers which account for 80% of area’s fishing activity. The main species landed and sold in the FLAG territory are anchovy, sardine, octopus, red mullet, cuttlefish, hake and shrimp.
The fisheries sector is going through a difficult phase socially with few incentives for younger generations to engage with the industry, presenting a challenge to the FLAG area. This, together with the evolution of an economic model dominated by the services sector, has led to the FLAG focusing on supporting the diversification in the fisheries into these sectors, while also maintaining the area’s maritime cultural heritage.
The FLAG has several protected areas under the conservation including the mouth of the Mijares River, the Columbretes Islands, the Las Palmas desert and the Irta Hills. In total these protected areas represent more than 50% of the FLAG territory.
La Plana FLAG strategy includes four main objectives:
While the FLAG has no specific project examples, future projects will be focused on:
The promotion of the area’s maritime cultural heritage.
FLAG members include the municipalities of Castelló de la Plana, Borriana, Vinaròs, Peñíscola and Benicarló, several fishing organisations (‘cofradías’), fisheries enterprises, cultural and tourism-related associations and the businessmen’s confederation of Castellón.