Establishment of AZA in the Echinades Islets & Etoloakarnania, Press ConferenceFeb 22, 2023
On Friday, February 17th, a press conference was held in Agrinio to mark the establishment of A.Z.A. in the Echinades Islets and Etoloakarnania. The event, entitled “A.Z.A. Echinades Islets & Etoloakarnania,” aimed to inform attendees about the structure and operation of the A.Z.A.s. It was jointly organized by the Chamber of Etoloakarnania, the Hellenic Aquaculture Producers’ Organization (H.A.P.O), and the Management Body, the “Development Company of Echinades and Etoloakarnania S.A.” and was held in the Municipality Hall of Agrinio. Mr. Philippos Petridis, CEO, and a scientific team of executives attended on behalf of the consulting company, AMBIO S.A.
Attendees were provided with a backstory of the A.Z.A. establishment, as well as the consultations that took place with local stakeholders and the environmental measurement program that was implemented and provided by the PDO. A summary of the foreseeable future of the Aquaculture activity, in accordance with the PDO’s guidelines, was also included in the presentation.
The President of H.A.P.O. and Director of the Management Body, Mr. Apostolos Touralias, emphasized that spatial planning is primarily a development tool and does not restrict tourism or other forms of economic activity. He added that the Aquaculture Zoning Plan was the only one with a solid legal foundation, thus it didn’t fall under the State Council. “There is no growth potential if we remain at 130,000 tonnes production. Turkish fish farmers are anticipated to increase their production from 50,000 tons, to over 300,000 tons in 2023 and will reportedly approach 350,000 tons in 2024!” he added.
Mr. Petridis emphasized that the E.U. links direct and indirect investments in a country according to its spatial planning and underlined the aquaculture’s development aspect and its compatibility with other economic activities while preserving the environment.
Mr. Kostas Bokas, President of the Management Body, member of H.A.P.O., member of the Chamber of Etoloakarnania, and local producer, pointed out that several fish farms have taken innovative steps, such as fishing-diving tourism, proving that aquaculture does not compete with tourism, as falsely accused.
The event was a success, clarifying the role of aquaculture in the region, illustrating the need for spatial planning, and highlighting the significance of the growth of fish farming in the area.