The area is located in the western half of the island of Crete. The main economic activities here are tourism and agriculture. The fisheries sector is small-scale and also comprises a limited number of aquaculture units.
The area also hosts many remarkable historical, cultural and archaeological sites, areas of natural beauty and ecological importance and a geopark in the UNESCO network.
Challenges here included an ageing population as well as the departure of young people from the area in search of opportunities in urban areas due to a high rate of unemployment amongst those who stay.
There are twelve Natura 2000 protected areas covering about 832 km2 which constitutes 47,30% of the FLAG area.
The strategy of the FLAG focuses on:
The CLLD program is multi-funded with a total budget of €6 750 000 (€1 700 000 EMFF and €5 050 000 from the EAFRD).
The EARDF will fund investments in production and promotion of agricultural products, crafts, cottage industry, rural tourism, protection and enhancement of cultural heritage and the natural environment.
The FLAG has experience in cooperation projects in the area of gastronomy, cultural heritage and environment.
The FLAG is interested in inter-territorial and transnational cooperation in promotion of local products, cultural and environmental themes, aquaculture and alternative forms of tourism.
The FLAG is also participating in an inter-territorial cooperation project: “Marine environment, coastal threats and fisheries”: Τhe project is a cooperation between 17 FLAGs from all over Greece and the project coordinator is the Heraklion Development Agency. The main objective is the identification, mapping and prioritisation of environmental threats to the Greek seas and how they are related to fisheries and coastal areas.
FLAG members include the municipalities of Aghios Nikolaos, Ierapetra Sitia, and Lassithi Plateau, the region of Crete, the regional union of municipalities of Crete, the chamber of Lassithi, the Sitia development organisation and the unions of agricultural cooperatives of Ierapetra, Merampello, and Lassithi.
Although no fisheries actors are formal members of the association, a local fisheries organisation sits on the project selection board of the FLAG.