This Mediterranean, coastal area’s eco-system blends marine and brackish water environments, with a series of lakes connected to the sea such as the Thau lagoon. This has brought together many different economic actors relying on rural, maritime and terrestrial activities (large and small-scale fishing, shellfish farming, sailing, tourism, hydrotherapy, wine growing, etc.).
The area has two important fisheries harbours: Agde and Sète, the latter well known for its bluefin tuna fishing fleet. Since the twinning of their auctions, these two harbours represent 45% of France’s Mediterranean landings. The area’s fisheries fleet includes trawlers and purse seiners, but also a small-scale fleet operating both along the coast and in the Thau lagoon. Emblematic fish and shellfish species in the area include sea bream, flat tellins and cockles while the Thau lagoon, a biodiversity hotspot for fresh and marine water species, is also a critical bird migration route and home to 90% of the mussel production for the French Mediterranean.
And yet, the area faces many challenges, including the economic viability of its fisheries activities and environmental sustainability. Beyond the general problems faced by the sector in many areas, the high seasonality of fishing practices are a key difficulty to ensuring economic viability for the sector. Sensitive species like cockles also represent a challenge and are in need of new management measures. This area faces important environmental challenges in terms of water quality and sustainable management of land use, especially given the strong development of tourism over the past decade.
around 50% of the FLAG area is covered by some form of environmental protection:
The FLAG’s strategy is based on the promotion of local economic activities taking into account the unique environmental assets of the area. The specific related challenges are creating and maintaining jobs and businesses in the fishery sector, strengthening the importance of fishery and aquaculture activities within territorial development while ensuring sustainable development.
The 3 strategic axes of the FLAG strategy are defined as follows:
The action plan covers 5 areas:
It is estimated that the FLAG strategy could bring benefits to an active workforce of around 10,000 people (both direct and indirect jobs) and around 800 enterprises in sectors related to fisheries, aquaculture and tourism activities directly linked with the resource.
Region and Department
Project ideas for the area include:
The FLAG has experience that it is willing to share in: Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), developing sustainable and responsible resource management tools, promoting scientific innovation and facilitating cooperation between actors.
It is interested in improving strategies for territorial marketing and integrated economic development; adding value to local products, local traditional skills and professions; and supporting the local actors to diversify their economic activities.
The full partnership includes: