The FLAG area comprises six coastal municipalities which all have a strong marine and fishing tradition and culture. The area, like most in the coastal enclaves of the Mediterranean, has a large population. The services industry, particularly the tourism sector, accounts for a high percentage of businesses, jobs, and sales in the area.
The fishing sector is also very strong locally with catches in 2015 generating €160.34m. The area’s fleet comprises 260 vessels and is largely artisanal. Commonly landed species are sardine, anchovy, mackerel, tuna and octopus. The area’s fisheries have strong links and ties to other local sectors such as seafood processing and gastronomy.
One of the main challenges for the FLAG is the successful creation and development of added value along the area’s entire fisheries supply chain. Other challenges include the successful incorporation of innovation in the fisheries industry which will generate jobs in the area, specifically innovation which offers integration with tourism activities and the development of techniques which work towards benefiting both sectors. An ongoing challenge for the FLAG is the successful economic development of the territory while also maintaining the area’s marine heritage and culture.
The area has several protected areas including the cliffs of Maro-Cerro Gordo, the mouth of the Guadalhorce river, the dunes of Artola-Cabo Pino, Calahonda, Fuengirola river, Saladillo-Punta de Baños and seabed of the Estepona Bay. In total these protected areas represent 16% of the FLAG territory.
The FLAG is committed to boosting innovation and employment in the food processing industry, commercial activity and aquaculture. The creation and modernisation of companies that help to promote an increase in the value of fishing and aquaculture products, employment, technological developments, innovation and energy efficiency.
While the FLAG has no specific project examples, future projects will be focused on the following areas:
FLAG members include the town halls of Vélez-Málaga, Estepona, Manilva, Algarrobo and Marbella, the community of municipalities of the Costa del Sol-Axarquia, trade unions, the Axarquia Women’s Association and several fisheries enterprises and the fishing organisations (‘cofradías’) of Estepona, Marbella, Fuengirola, and Vélez-Málaga.