The Vela Vrata (the Big Door, named after the maritime passage between the island of Cres and the mainland in the Bay of Rijeka) brings together islands of Cres and Lošinj, and their respective towns and municipalities, and the city of Opatija, municipalities of Lovran and Mošćenička Draga on the coast.
The area has a long tradition of fishing (mainly small-scale), which strongly impacts its heritage and culture. There are approximately 500 fishing boats in the region, most of which are under 12m. Typical catches include red mullet, shrimp and sardine. One of the main sources of income and jobs is tourism. Challenges for the FLAG area include low incomes from fisheries, low level of organisation of fishermen and insufficient links with other sectors. There is also a lack of linkages between fisheries and other sectors (including tourism), often as a result of environmental concerns and restriction linked to the Natura 2000 sites in the territory.
The FLAG territory has several protected areas under the Natura 2000 network including Učka the Cres Kvarner Islands, Cres - ness Grota – Merag, Cres - ness Pernat - cove Tiha, Cres Island and Zeča Island.
The FLAG strategy aims at increasing the competitiveness of the fishery area and improving the value chain through:
Project ideas for the Vela Vrata FLAG will be focused on the following:
Calls for projects will be made two or three times a year. More information and deadlines will be published on the FLAG website
The FLAG has experience in publishing specialised texts, thematic case studies, the organisation and motivation of multisectoral stakeholders and the implementation of small value projects.
The FLAG is interested in national and transnational cooperation in the fields of developing infrastructure for multisectoral stakeholders, acquiring knowledge about underwater structures for strengthening fish stocks, the development of tourism related to fisheries, the inclusion of women in related activities to the fishery sector.
The FLAG has 20 members in total including six representatives of the public sector (five of them are local authorities of the municipalities and cities of the FLAG area), eight representatives from the fisheries and aquaculture sector and a few members from the social sector, including a fisheries and maritime institute and an eco-museum.