The FLAG area is included in three provinces and seven municipalities. Although the islands are located at different and distant points of Sicily and characterised by their geographical peculiarities, the territory is homogeneous in many aspects. From a cultural point of view, they all have a strong territorial identity, at the same time they are vulnerable territories, as geographically marginalised and therefore economically poorly developed (especially in the winter season) and suffer environmental pressures such as the risk of indiscriminate construction and mass tourism.
Their different geological peculiarities and different position in the Mediterranean basin have resulted in a wide variety of flora and fauna of European and international importance. In fact, the Sicilian islands host an impressive number of endemic species and are important rest locations for bird migrations from the African continent. The FLAG area includes seven Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) and 11 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and includes the biggest Marine Protected Area (MPA) of the Aegadian islands (53 992 ha).
Fishing activities on the Sicilian islands are mainly small-scale and coastal, with aged and small sized vessels and spending up to 24 hours at sea at a time. The fleets (about 200 boats) belong to three Maritime Compartments. A high number of traditional and selective fishing techniques is applied and small-scale trawling is only practiced by three boats in the FLAG area. There is one aquaculture plant in the Aeolian islands for European bass and gilt-head bream.
The fishermen in the FLAG area make up about 6% of total employment. Their challenges include poorly developed infrastructure in landing areas, a lack of real fish markets and a low number of processing facilities. Tourism has become the most important economic activity on the islands. Its seasonality together with environmental pressure must be taken into account when linking fisheries with tourism in a sustainable way.
Europe’s largest Marine Protected Area Marine (MPA) is located in the Aegadian islands (53 992 ha, present since 1991 and fully operational since 2010). Moreover, there are eleven Special Protection Areas (SPA) and seven Sites of Community Importance (SIC).
Promoting social wellbeing and cultural heritage on the islands is the most important general objective of the FLAG’s strategy. In line with the budget and implementation period of the FLAG, focus is put on:
National and regional
Examples of project ideas include:
Examples of project ideas include:
The FLAG has cooperated in the network of Sicilian FLAGs for territorial and fish products promotion. Moreover, in 2015, the FLAG organised and study visit for five fishermen to the Oeste FLAG in Portugal, to gain experience on how small-scale fishermen conduct their activities elsewhere, the local fishing techniques and on how FLAG support is organised in that area.
The FLAG is interested in cooperation projects on local food promotion and market placement, and in cooperation projects for conservation of fisheries related cultural heritage.
FLAG members include: seven municipalities (now including the municipality of Leni on the island of Salina who was not present in the last FLAG period), three fishermen’s cooperatives, five associations linked to the fisheries sector and a small-scale fisheries association, two aquaculture companies, two food processing companies and two environmental associations (Marevivo and Legambiente).