The FLAG territory is made up of a series of small-scale fishing, environmental and touristic areas, including the islands of Samos and Ikaria as well as the archipelago of Fournoi all of which are located in the North Aegean Region of Greece. The entire area, especially Fournoi, has a long, mostly coastal fishing tradition, which is an integral part of the local culture of these island communities.
In addition, there is a dynamic tourist market, which increases the demand for local products and services. The area has a rich natural environment, protected marine grass plots and important sea mammals, such as the Mediterranean Seal, the rhinodolphin, and the passing sperm whale. This combination of characteristics could serve as the basis for the development of alternative forms of tourism, such as scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing activities, animal observation, educational activities, hiking, sea sports and gastronomic tourism.
The main challenges in the area include the reduced competitiveness of fisheries products, the lack of financial support for fishermen in the face of adverse working conditions, low levels of standardisation of agricultural-fisheries products and poor marketing mechanisms.
Approximately 55% of the FLAG area is protected. There are four Special Protection Areas (SPAs). They include the south-west part of the Island of Ikaria, the island of Fournoi and the small islands of Thymaina, Alatsonisi, Makronisi, Mikros, Megalos-Antropofagos, Agios Minas, Mount Kerketefs, and AlikiPsilis Ammou. The four Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) include the coastal area around Ikaria- Fournoi, Mounts Kerketefs, Mikro and MegaloSeitani, the forest at Kastanias and Lekkas, the Promontory at Katafasisi, and Alik Beach.
The main objective of the FLAG strategy is the promotion of employment, entrepreneurship, and social cohesion, as well as improving the quality of life for the residents in order to create an environment that is attractive to live and work in with the participation of the local community.
The main priority of the strategy is to contribute to improving the competitiveness of fisheries areas through diversification of the local economy, the creation of public, social, environmental, and cultural assets and infrastructure and by connecting local fish products and services with the rich cultural and environmental characteristics of the region.
Supporting the alternative and complementary actions of fishermen for example: maritime tourism, ecotourism, sea sports, diving, fishing tourism etc.
Supporting the creation or improvement of dining and leisure facilities by fishermen (traditional taverns, coffee shops, small scale accommodation facilities suited to the local environment, etc.), where, in addition to fishing, they will be able to provide and promote their products to tourists.
The FLAG has previous experience in LEADER management. In December 2010, the LEADER LAG coordinated a transnational LAG project with groups in Spain on high-quality Mediterranean wines.
The FLAG is interested in developing cooperation at local, national, and international level. They organise cooperation action with the Development Agency of Heraklion S.A in the areas of marine environment, coastal threats and fishing that aims to improve the marine environment.
In addition, the FLAG is interested in collaborating with a variety of authorities and organisations in order to develop a transnational cooperation project named “AKTES- Transnational Quality Agreement of coastal and insular region”.
The FLAG membership includes the Samos regional unit, the regional association of municipalities, the municipality of Samos, the association of hotel owners of Samos, the commercial association of Samos, the union of winemaking cooperatives of Samos, “Source of Mannas” cultural educational and folklore association, the chamber of Samos, and “The Gull” fishing association of Fournoi.