The FLAG area includes the most developed area of the island of Crete (North West and North East coastal parts of Heraklion) in terms of tourism. Despite the extensive coastline, fishing is limited to demersal and small pelagic fish species which are promoted to the local fish markets. Agriculture is also an important activity in the area.
The main challenges include the fight against unemployment in the fisheries sector and increasing the fisheries communities’ income through activities that take advantage of the touristic assets of the area.
The protected areas constitute 13.06% of the FLAG area and consist of:
Parts of two Natura 2000 sites
Three wildlife refuges as recognised by Greek law
Twelve natural and artificial wet lands (marshes, estuaries, reservoirs, natural and artificial lakes)
Two landscapes of particular natural beauty according to the database for the Natural Environment of Greece/National Technical University of Athens (Chondros and Chersonissos)
The FLAG strategy aims to strengthen and diversify the economy of fishing zones and coastal areas through the development of additional activities for fishermen (especially in the field of tourism) and the improvement of infrastructure related to fishing as well as tourism activity.
Additionally, it aims to promote innovative, competitive and environmentally friendly investments, mainly in the field of marine tourism, with the cooperation of scientific and research institutions.
The CLLD (LAG and FLAG) program is multi-funded with a total budget of €11 050 000 (€2 150 000 from the EMFF and €8 900 000 from the EAFRD.
Support for pesca tourism activities conducted by professional fishermen
Create enterprises in the sector engaged in the processing and marketing of fisheries products
Create and enhance enterprises in the sector of marine tourism (diving tourism, water sports, daily cruises)
Establish small industries associated with fishing activities (e.g. production of fish boxes, ice)
Support of partnerships between scientists and fishermen in themes associated with environmental threats (Lessepsian migration, coastal erosion) or with the development of new processes and technologies in fishing activity
Support investments improving the infrastructure of fishing ports, auctions halls, landing sites and shelters
Create new marine parks, infrastructure for diving and observing the marine environment.
The FLAG has experience in the implementation of projects regarding agri-food, alternative forms of tourism (e.g. gastronomy tourism) and culture in island areas. It is interested in transnational cooperation projects in the area of marine/coastal tourism and marine environment threats.
Cooperation projects envisaged:
The inter-territorial 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 of the Greek seas and how they are related to fisheries and coastal areas.
Transnational project: “Dive in our islands”: This project is a continuation project with FLAGs from Greece and Cyprus from the past programming period. The main objective of the project is to create a common system of exploitation and promotion of comparative advantages based on the sea, in relation to the opportunities presented by coastal-islands areas.
Budget envisaged for cooperation: The final amount has not been decided yet. It is estimated that about 3% of the total public budget will be allocated to cooperation projects.
The FLAG membership includes the municipalities of Archanes – Asterousia, Heraklion, Minoa-Pediada, Malevizi, Chersonissos, Gortyna, Festos, Viannos and the union of Heraklion municipalities as well as the region of Crete. Agricultural associations in the membership include the rural corporate partnership –Heraklion union, the union of Peza agricultural cooperatives and the agricultural cooperatives of Profitis Ilias, Ano Asites, Kato Asites and Archanes. The Heraklion chamber of commerce and industry and the Pancreta cooperative bank as well as the women’s agricultural cooperatives of Kroussona and Archanes complete the membership.
Although no fisheries actors are formal members of the association, a local fisheries organisation sits on the project selection board of the FLAG.