Fisheries Areas Network

FLAG Factsheet


Official name: 
GALPA de Thau et sa bande côtière de Frontignan à Agde
Programming period: 


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.

Type of area:
Sea Basins:
Protected areas: 

around 50% of the FLAG area is covered by some form of environmental protection:

  • 1 protected marine area: « Aire marine protégée de la Côte Agathoise »
  • 2 conservation areas: « Site classé de la Gardiole et Site classé des étangs palavasiens »
  • 1 national nature reserve: « Réserve naturelle du Bagnas »
  • 9 Natura 2000 areas: Cap d’Agde; Corniche de Sète; Posidonies de la Côte palavasienne; Réserve du Bagnas, Etang de Thau; Etangs palavasiens; Plaine Fabrègues-Poussan; Plaine Villeveyrac-Montagnac; and Montagne de la Moure et Causse d’Aumelas.
150 635
Surface area (km²)
Population density
Total employment in fisheries
2 500
2 000

FLAG strategy

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:

  • Creating local economic wealth by means of new economic activities and jobs, new production techniques, and new modes of governance and management
  • Supporting fishery activities (jobs and professions) and local initiatives
  • Sharing and pooling experiences and techniques, communicating to different stakeholder groups

The action plan covers 5 areas:

  • Increasing the added value of local products
  • Implementing innovative or new practices in fisheries activities
  • Promoting local fisheries professions and products and making them known
  • Strengthening and organizing cooperation practices
  • Implementing management, communication and evaluation procedures

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.

Adding value, creating jobs, and promoting innovation along the fisheries chain
% of the budget allocated: 
Supporting diversification
Enhancing and capitalising on the environmental assets
Promoting social wellbeing and cultural heritage
Strengthening the role of fisheries communities in local development


Total public budget allocated to the FLAG for 2014-2020: 
1 429 044
  • EMFF: 
    714 522
  • MS co-financing: 
    714 522
  • Sources of co-funding: 

    Region and Department

Project examples

Project ideas for the area include:

  • Testing the online market for local fisheries products
  • Developing ways of recycling fisheries waste
  • Developing new short circuits
  • Establishing a master plan for mollusk farming areas & combating mollusk predation by sea bream
  • Implementing a shellfish observatory (bringing together production, environment and sanitary management)
  • Developing an educational programme to improve the way in which the general public is received
  • Creating an oyster and wine route

Expertise & cooperation

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.

Budget envisaged for cooperation: 


Accountable body: 
Syndicat Mixte du Bassin de Thau (SMBT)
Members of the partnership: 

The full partnership includes:

  • 16 territorial collectivities (Region, Département, Intermunicipalities…)
  • 15 other public structures (chamber of commerce, tourist offices…)
  • 12 shellfish/aquaculture organisations/businesses (Mediterranean Regional Shellfish Committee, shellfish producers unions, aquaculture professionals)
  • 12 fisheries organisations/businesses (Regional Committee of fisheries and aquaculture, Prud’homies, auctions, producer organisations, professionals)
  • 4 Scientific/educational organisations (Ifremer, Université de Montpellier, maritime school)
  • 16 representatives from other sectors (Environmental association (CPIE), tour operators, event managers, marketing…)
Number of individuals/organisations in partnership/general assembly: 
% of fisheries actors: 
% of public authorities and other: 
% of other (non-fisheries) private / NGO sector actors: 
% of environmental actors: 
Number of individuals on main decision-making body/board: 
% of public actors: 
Number of contracted staff in FLAG: 


FLAG Contacts

Syndicat Mixte du Bassin de Thau (SMBT)
328 Quai des Moulins
34200 Sète
FLAG Manager:
Ms. Beatrice Pary
+33 4 67 74 61 60
FLAG President:
Mr. François Commeinhes
  • French (Mother tongue)
  • English (Intermediate)
  • Italian (Intermediate)
Publication date: 
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