A collaborative effort to encourage fishers to follow models of sustainable and low-impact fishing at the Argolic Region.

Fishers successfully participated in Argolicorama programme for the second year in Spetses. The programme lasted 2 weeks in May 2023 between 9 – 19/05 and was successfully implemented by 15 fishers. They abstained from fishing to reduce the level of fishing during peak reproductive periods for marine species (April and May) offering direct benefits to populations and the wider marine ecosystem. Instead, fishers participated in a joint effort to conduct coastal clean-ups, participated in seminars on sustainable fishing and learnt about fishing tourism. The programme managed to cultivate an ethos of stewardship of marine resources among professional fishers through their involvement in the program and associated activities.

Argolicorama is a joint programme funded by the Argolic Environment Foundation (AEF) and the Blue Marine Foundation (BMF)and is supported by the Cyclades Preservation Fund (CPF). It was inspired by the Amorgorama programme a bottom-up initiative launched by the fishers in Amorgos, Cyclades, in 2021, to protect their island by tackling overfishing and pollution, which is also supported by CPF and BMF. The Programme’s first phase of 2023 in Spetses was successfully implemented in collaboration with the Community Trust Spetses,, the Municipality of Spetses and the Spetses Trade Association. The Programme will be also implemented in New Kios during the last week of May.

The fishers who participated in Argolicorama, travelled to remote areas of the island’s coastline with their vessels and collected rubbish in-between rocks and inaccessible beaches. In total around 100 big bags of marine litter were collected. The fishers found lots of plastics, old tires, broken buoys and abandoned fishing nets. All the old fishing gear collected were collected and recycled through the Mediterranean Clean-up programme that AEF supports in the region.

Under the framework of the programme a day was dedicated to the seminars hosted at the Anargyrios & Korgialenios School of Spetses. The fishers learnt how to safely release sharks, and rays accidentally caught in their nets without harming the species, through an interactive training offered by the team of iSea. Fishers were delighted to learn about these methods and practices. They also had the chance to learn more about fishing tourism and how to acquire fishing tourism licences, from experts from the Cyclades Preservation Fund. The fishers of Spetses are ready to organise themselves in an Association as they recognize the benefits this would have for their future work.  We are committed to support them on this. The last day of the programme the fishers invited the key stakeholders of the programme on one of the vessels to celebrate the successful implementation of the programme in Spetses. They cooked and treated all the stakeholders involved.

Through the Argolicorama programme AEF empowers fishers in the Argolic Region to follow models of sustainable and low-impact fishing and inspire them to work together. It was nice to see local entities of Spetses engage in the Programme and work together to support the fishers in their goal to save their sea. We aim to raise the necessary funds through donations to support this initiative and continue participating in Argolicorama programme and allow for the underwater world to take a break for regeneration.

Credits for the photos to Natalia Tsoukala.

Fishers abstain from fishing to help the species reproduce In May.

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Fishers work in teams to transfer the big bags full of rubbish.
Collecting plastics in between the rocks.
Collecting fishing nets for recycling.
Proud and happy to contribute in cleaning their land and protect their sea.
Learning about fishing tourism bay experts from CPF.
Fishers participate in trainings on sustainable fishing by iSea.
Congratulations to all the fishers who participated in the ARGOLICORAMA in Spetses.