The FLAG is located in the middle of the north western coastline of Spain facing the Atlantic Ocean. The coastal territory of the Ria Arousa FLAG is a horseshoe-shaped area around the wide mouth of the tidal river of the same name and includes a number of islands.
Its economy has historically relied on the fishery sector (fishing and shellfish gathering) with a strong specialisation in the canning industry.
The tourism industry, on the other hand, is flourishing thanks to the presence of flat sandy beaches with water sports facilities and a warm climate. The area’s nature reserves and its cultural heritage make it an attractive tourist destination.
The main challenge for the area is to compensate the decline in employment in the fisheries sector. During the last decade, fisheries production has dropped due to the frequent blooming of algae and a decline in marine resources, leading to a decrease in employment in the sector.
Small businesses are in need of complementary activities to deal with periods of less fishing activity. As for the processing industry, the working conditions in the canning industry do not fully meet current standards making it less and less attractive – especially for women, often also responsible for the management of family life.
In addition, there is a need for linking fisheries and tourism, and in particular to promote the fisheries sector's products towards the growing number of tourists visiting the area.
There are five protected areas in the FLAGs territory covering a total of 29 160 ha, almost 70% of the area.
One of the main aims of the strategy is to challenge producers to broaden and diversify their activities within the fisheries sector. In order to do this, the FLAG intends to support training both for primary producers (fishermen, shell gathers, aquaculture professionals) and for those stakeholders involved in downstream activities such as processing and trading of seafood products.
A majority of women work in shellfish and canning activities and therefore play an important role in fisheries. The FLAG will also focus on actions that improve the working conditions in these industries and aim for a better work-life balance.
A third objective is to stimulate interaction between different economic sectors to generate cross-sectoral initiatives. These can, for example, lead to the development of tourist packages in which fisheries related experiences or products are integrated and jointly promoted.
Another aim is to use environmental points of interest as well as unique elements of the cultural heritage of the coastal area to attract a more diversified range of visitors to the FLAGs territory.
Projects approved to date can be found at: www.accioncosteira.es
Every year there will be a call for project proposals with a deadline of the 1st of March.
If the budget of this call is not exhausted, a second call will be organised, with a deadline of the 1st of September (except in 2020, when there will be no second call, in order to ensure the programme is closed on time).
The FLAG gained experience through the cooperation project "Mar Galaica" www.margalaica.net/en/, a project between all Galician FLAGs to jointly promote maritime tourism in Galicia.
It also undertook an exchange project with French students helping to map the fisheries sector (based on data, interviews and visits) of Ria Arousa.
The FLAG is interested in cooperating on the same themes that are important for their area. These are adding value to products, diversification and environmental projects that look for a balance between the protection of the ria and a sustainable use for fisheries activities.
The FLAG is open to cooperation with other Spanish groups, transnational FLAGs or with groups located around a specific sea basin, such as the Atlantic Ocean or Mediterranean Sea.
The FLAG board consists of: