The area includes the South West coast of Aitoloakarnania, the Meganisi island and a large number of lakes (five natural and three artificial) on the mainland. It includes five protected areas with high levels of biodiversity. The most common type of fishing is small-scale coastal. Aquaculture is also a very important activity in the area.
The demographics are challenging here as the population declined by 8.9% in the period from 2001-2011. Other difficulties here include the interface of agriculture and environment with sustainable tourism products, creating innovation in the food production chain and the protection of environmental assets.
The five protected areas include four lakes and one archipelago. In total, they constitute 29% of the FLAG area.
The strategy of the FLAG aims to enhance the competitiveness of fishing and aquaculture as well as the processing of fisheries and aquaculture products, the protection of the environment and the promotion of the efficiency of resources with particular regard to tourism and local heritage related activities.
The approved CLLD programme of a total public budget of € 8 100 000 is multi-funded (€1 900 000 EMFF and €6 300 000 EAFRD).
Suggested project ideas include the establishment of accommodation or restaurants, sea sports (such as surfing) and tours with traditional boats.
The FLAG is interested in national or transnational cooperation concerning the management of lake ecosystems. One transnational cooperation project envisaged is entitled “wetland life” and it aims to develop tourism in protected areas.
The association’s members include the municipalities of the region (Agrinio, Hernou, Karpenisi, Aktiou Vonitsa, Meganisio, Messologi, Agrafon, Ksiromerou and Amfilochia), several associations of agricultural cooperatives, several associations of forestry cooperatives and the local chambers of commerce.
Although no fisheries actors are formal members of the association, a local fisheries organisation (aquaculture and fisheries association of Aitoloakarnanias) sits on the project selection board of the FLAG.