The FLAG area comprises the lagoons of Vistonida, Ismarida, Porto Lagos, Aliki, Ptelea, Xirolimni and Karatza, parts of the Nestos and Kompsatos river basins and the coastline of Rodopi and Xanthi prefectures (up to 10 km inland).
The conservation of the unspoilt environment and the historical and cultural heritage of the area are the most important challenges to be dealt with here. There is also a need to boost the value of fisheries products and boost local incomes while doing so.
There are three protected sites. Two are wetland areas with their focus around lakes and one is the area around the port of Porto Lagos. These areas cover a total of 40% of the FLAG area.
The FLAG strategy aims to support local entrepreneurship, improve the competitiveness of the agri-food sector and improve living conditions for the local population, while remaining conscious of the environment and energy efficiency.
This strategy responds to the specific challenges described in the previous section and it aims to preserve the environment through sustainable development and support local entrepreneurship by providing quality products and services to residents and visitors to the area in order to create a strong local fisheries area that can maintain and support the local population.
Project ideas include the creation of processing units to increase the added value of the local catch.
The FLAG has experience in cooperative management of lagoons and business clusters.
The FLAG is going to cooperate with other CLLD groups within the framework of the inter-territorial programme entitled “Marine environment, threats and coastal fisheries” and the transnational programme entitled “Life on Wetlands”.
The coordinator of the first cooperation project is the Heraklion FLAG. Its main objective is the identification, mapping and prioritisation of risks faced by Greek seas and related to fisheries and coastal areas.
The wetlands project is coordinated by the Aitolia FLAG and involves eight areas in Greece and Romania. Its objective is the networking and integration of protected areas characterised by the Ramsar Convention and the NATURA 2000 network, with the aim of developing protected areas through quality tourism activities identification.
The FLAG membership includes four local municipalities, the regional association of municipalities, the Region of Eastern Macedonia, two trade union organisations, the Union of Agricultural Associations, the local branch of the technical chamber of Greece and the Cultural Association of Pontiacs. The Fisheries actors in the membership include the Fishery Corporation of Producers in Rodopi County and the Agricultural Fishery Corporation of Erasmio- both of whom also hold places on the decision-making board of the FLAG.