The big meeting of the MPA Management Bodies in Alonissos was completed with great success both in terms of participation and outcomes.
One of the most significant results of the meeting was the participants decision to create a Network of Managers of the Hellenic Marine Protected Areas, which will support their work and enhance their networking and communication. The participants also came down to 17 conclusions/proposal with regards to the management of the MPAs and the sustainability of the fisherys performed within these volnurable areas.
During the two days event, key issues were discussed such as the problematic management of fishing activity in Greece, which is worsening due to massive tourism and uncontrolled amateur fishing. Therefere, the need to take bold measures to immediately improve the existing situation was stressed out, such as the restoration of the license for recreational fishing, the selectivity (ie fishing of the appropriate species and of the appropriate size) and the location of fishing activities (professional and recreational). Also measures to empower better cooperation between MPAs and flexibility of all stakeholders involved in fisheries control and promotion of sustainable fisheries, were proposed. At the same time, the role of the Marine Protected Areas was highlighted and the need to adopt specific fisheries regulations within their boundaries for the protection of fish stocks.
During the second day of the event, Fishing Tourism was presented as a very promising prospect by both fishermen who have already integrated it into their activity and specialist during a special seminar. According to the experience presented, fishing tourism contributes to the decompression of the fish stocks and the awareness of fishermen and tourists on the marine environment, while at the same time creates new jobs, provides a better and easier income for fishermen and promotes local production and economy.
Finally, during the second day the representatives of the MPAs had the opportunity to get informed on the LIFE & HORIZON 2020 funding programs and discover useful "dos & don'ts" in order to become eligible candidates. MedPAN - the Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas Network was also presented, as a "best practice" network that promotes synergies and exchange of knoweledge between MPAs and at the same time supports the lobbying in national and international decision-making centers and the monitoring of the implementation of applicable environmental legislation.