The FLAG area of Pieria, which is found along the western shore of the Gulf of Thermaikos, is a rural area where fishing is an important economic activity. It is well known for shellfish farming and in 2014 it produced over 8 400 tons of mussels representing over 85% of overall Greek production for the year. In addition to aquaculture, sea fishing remains important here.
It’s coastal location, rich cultural heritage and proximity to Thessaloniki have led to strong growth in the tourist sector in the past few decades.
The main challenges include the need to boost entrepreneurship and to tackle social exclusion while maintaining and enhancing cultural heritage.
There are two Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) and one Special Protected Area (SPA) under the Natura 2000 scheme which represent a total of 27% of the total FLAG area. The area also has three wildlife sanctuaries.
The strategy focuses on the promotion of entrepreneurship and cultural heritage. It aims to create a favourable environment for the development of competitive and viable entrepreneurial initiatives, to facilitate knowledge transfers, and to strengthen interactions between different economic sectors in order to boost the competitive advantages of the area with emphasis on natural and cultural resources
The FLAG/LAG is multi-funded, receiving funding from the EMMF and the EAFRD. The FLAG will also use funds from the ERDF (for Interreg and ROPs - Regional Operational Programmes), ESF for CLLD actions, and ENI (European Neighbourhood Instrument) for Joint Operational Programmes.
The FLAG has experience in subjects such as quality, culture, energy efficiency and gastronomy.
The FLAG is interested in transnational level networking and cooperation on fishing and aquaculture (especially mussels farming). Possible projects include:
The company/partnership has 25 shareholders. Public institutions involved in the company cover all local authorities operating in Pieria. The main "strategic" bodies involved include the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Pieria, several agricultural cooperatives, the Hotel Association, the Cooperative Bank of Pieria, the Professionals’ Societies and the Mountaineers Societies, amongst others. Furthermore, 15% of the membership of the FLAG is made up of private fishermen who are also represented on the decision-making board.