The marine ecosystem is changing: fish-stocks are decreasing, some species are reaching the edge of extinction, marine pollution and over-exploitation is more and more visible and degrading the Aegean Sea. Argolicorama programme, is an AEF-led initiative to address these issues, through the direct involvement of the small – scale fishers of the Argolic Gulf, who heavily depend on healthy marine ecosystems and thriving fish-stocks for their livelihood.
Argolicorama comprises of an effort to reduce the level of fishing during the spawning season for marine species in the Argolic Gulf (specifically the months of April – May) and inspire fishers to transition to more sustainable fishing practices. Argolicorama was inspired by the Amorgorama programme, a grass root, bottom-up initiative launched in 2021, with direct involvement of the professional fishing association of Amorgos aiming to design and operate Marine Protected Areas, supported by Blue Marine Foundation (BMF) and Cyclades Preservation Fund (CPF).
The Argolicorama programme was successfully implemented in 2022 with the support of CPF and BMF in Spetses and has since cultivated an ethos of stewardship of marine resources among professional fishers. Fishers asked for the programme to be implemented for the second time, and so AEF supported them again, with a co-funding from BMF and kind contribution of CPF. This time AEF invited more stakeholders to be involved and create a local ownership of the programme such as the Community Trust Spetses, the municipality of Spetses, the municipality of Nea Kios and the Spetsiot Chamber of Commerce, and inspired one more fishing association that of Nea Kios also to participate.
This year 36 fishers abstained from fishing and participated in the relevant activities of the Programme achieved the following outcomes:
- 115 individual fishing sorties were avoided.
- 1,2 tons of fish that would ordinarily have been caught and removed from the ecosystem were given the space to reproduce.
- Raised awareness about their role in promoting environmental activities as a unified group, for the preservation of the sea.
- Fishers in Spetses are discussing about creating a fishers association.
- Fishers in Nea Kios are discussing about having bins for recycling fishing nets and many other ideas related to sustainable fishing such as piloting the use of more sustainable fishing nets etc.
- 152 big trash bags (110cm X 80cm) full of waste were removed from the beautiful landscapes of the region.
We are very proud of our fishers in the Argolic Gulf and we are already preparing for next year!
Photo credits to : Natalia Tsoukala and Thanos Kazolias