“No fish farms in Poros!”
Briefing on the Municipality’s fight against the industrial Area of Organized Aquaculture Development
Dear residents and visitors of our island,
The Government has decided to create an industrial zone of aquaculture units -Π.Ο.Α.Υ- in Poros.
In this section you can find all the information on this issue and find out how you can help us save our island!
What does aquaculture unit (Π.Ο.Α.Υ) mean and what is foreseen in the study of aquaculture units in Poros:
The Area of Organized Aquaculture Development (Π.Ο.Α.Υ) in Poros, for the establishment of which only the issuance of a Presidential Decree is now pending, will cover over 600 hectares on land and 269 hectares at sea (instead of 9.5 hectares currently covered) and will occupy ¼ of the island, from Vagionia to the area of the biological purification plants. In the marine area, new fish farms will be established with annual production rising from 1,147 tons today to 8,831 tons in 5 years which then will be released, while on land fish hatcheries, packing and processing plants, fish net washers, roads, port facilities etc. are about to be built in private sites as well as in forests, coastal areas and beaches. The exclusive use of fish farming is guaranteed throughout the whole area, excluding any other use (yachts, fishing, habitation, etc.), while in 5 years the managing body (i.e. the multinational fish farming company) will be able not only to increase the above mentioned data but also to create more aquaculture units. The managing body -and no longer the Municipality and other relevant public authorities- will be solely responsible for the management of the area, the environmental control and the exploitation of further public land.
According to the Study, from the initial operation of the aquaculture unit (Π.Ο.Α.Υ), on average 16 tons of fish effluent (equivalent to a city of 33,500 inhabitants - while Poros has 3,500 inhabitants), food waste, chemicals, formalin, etc. will be discharged daily into the sea, while locals are expected to turn to fish farming and follow the 'fish farming tourism' model instead of tourism and fisheries sectors.
Reacting to these monstrous plans, the Board of Poros, with its unanimous Resolution No. 121/2020, has declared to the Government the following:
1. The plan is rejected in total a) as undesirable and threatening to the survival of the local community and economy, b) as a colonialist and racist method that offends the residents’ logic, experience and free will and c) as an extreme threat against the marine and coastal environment in our region and as a forcible imposition of a development-oriented approach which is in direct conflict with the current demands and choices of the local community.
2. Any approval in the creation of aquaculture unit (Π.Ο.Α.Υ) will be a casus belli against society and our Municipality, triggering mobilizations and reactions, a struggle to survive and save our region, while any potential investment on the island is considered, according to relevant provisions, absolutely undesirable and doomed to failure.
3. Given that the State insists on a centralized fish farm system and rejects the non- centralized system, we demand the immediate removal of all fish farms from Poros.
If you want to support our effort:
✔ Declare your support for our fight and your availability to participate in the mobilizations which will be organized depending on the development of the situation, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, including your full name, your telephone number and the title «NO FISH FARM IN POROS».
✔ Support financially the communication campaign of our Municipality (printed and promotional material). If you wish to help, please send us an email to email@example.com and we will contact you.
✔ Put political pressure on the decision makers (Government, Members of Parliament, political parties)
✔ Make statements to the media.
✔ Help us in any other way you may want and let us know at the above email address.
The Government has extended the deadline for the establishment of industrial fish farming zones by two (2) more years, through a law provision adopted unexpectedly on July 28, 2022. In particular, while on 22.12.2021 the extension of the relevant deadline until 4.11.2022 had been approved by law provision, (triggering protests from residents and municipalities in the areas where the creation of fish farms is foreseen) and despite the fact that this deadline had not yet expired, the Ministry of Environment introduced unexpectedly in Law 4964/2022, which was adopted by the government majority on 28.7.2022, a new provision (article 63) adding fish farming companies two years (i.e. until 4.11.2024) to establish their fish farms.
This move, while it has caused public satisfaction of the fish farming industry before the elections, completely contradicts the disregard with which the State has been treating the municipalities, for which specific “investments” are planned, as well as the Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE) that requested a review of the planning and the exclusion of specific areas (Poros, the coastal front of Mytikas, Aitoloakarnania etc.).
It should be noted that the above extension is the 4th in line approved for this case after the adoption of the “Spatial Planning of Aquaculture” on 4.11.2011 (PASOK Government). More specifically, although the initial deadline set by the Spatial Planning was until 4.11.2016, the SYRIZA-ANEL Government approved the first extension for 3 additional years, (until 4.11.2019) and then the current Government extended the above deadline three more times by provisions of laws, firstly until 4.11.2021, secondly until 4.11.2022 and now until 4.11.2024.
A meeting on the issue of preventing the creation of Industrial Areas of Organized Aquaculture Development in the Saronic Gulf was held on Saturday 21.5.2022 in Poros, on the initiative of the Mayor of Poros, Giannis Dimitriadis. All Mayors and members of parliament (MP) of the Saronic islands and coasts, from west and south of Salamina to Hydra, as well as the Regional Governors and local Regional Vice - Governors of Attica and Peloponnese were invited to the meeting. However, the only ones that came were the Mayor of Epidaurus T. Chronis and the Mayor of Xeromeros G. Triandafyllakis (coordinator of the Panhellenic Coordinating Committee of fish farmingareas), the Regional Vice - Governor of Islands V. Bogri-Theodorakopoulou and MPs G. Giolas (Argolida/SYRIZA), Th. Dritsas (A'Piraeus/SYRIZA) and Chr. Boutsikakis (A' Piraeus/ND).In addition, the Mayor of Agistri G. Athanasiou, the Mayor of Aegina G. Zorbas andthe Mayor of Salamina G. Panagopoulos as well as the MP (A' Piraeus/ND) K. Katsafados, N. Manolakos and G. Mela informed that they could not attend the meeting due to unavoidable commitments. It is noted that Giannis Dimitriadis had initially invited the Regional Governor of Attica, G. Patoulis, to convene this meeting in Athens and as the Regional Governor did not do so, the Mayor of Poros took the initiative to convene it himself.
The following conclusions were reached:
1. The limited interest of the elected representatives of the regions of West & South Saronic Gulf on this issue, leads to the conclusion that there is no background and legitimacy for a jointfight with a common demand for the cancellation of the fish-industrialization plan of the Saronic Gulf.
2. The limited interest of the elected representatives of the coastal regions of the whole country, leads also to a similar conclusion regarding the fight for the amendment of Spatial Planning of Aquaculture.
3. The complete indifference of all Regions of the country, the Association of Greek Regions and the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece on this issue, reinforces the above conclusions and causes frustration regarding their role and the acceptance of their institutional marginalization.
4. No party has stated that it intends to amend this plan and no MP has put forward in public (not even during the meeting) specific proposals to address the issue.
5. Regarding its own region, the Municipality of Poros requests the complete cancellation of the plan for the creation of P.O.A.Y. and declares that the non-acceptance of the request is a casus belli for the local community and cannot be accepted. In case the government does not withdraw the plan immediately (before the national elections), our Municipality has declared that it will proceed to dynamic actions and total conflict in order to protect the island. In this context, the Municipal Council will first of all take a Decision to abstain from the national elections and declare all representatives of the Government, the Region and the Parliament as institutionally undesirable in our region. Also, the Municipality has already started a campaign (leaflets, banners, social media) to make its positions known.
6. In terms of joint actions, the Municipality of Poros reiterates its call to those municipalities that may wish to fight for preventing the creation of P.O.A.Y. in their own regions or for other "red lines" that they may identify (e.g.about the size of P.O.A.Y. or specific zones):
- Holding a meeting with the Prime Minister in June, in which any Municipalities participating will put forward their requests regarding their regions and ask for a clear answer as to whether these are acceptable. During the meeting in Poros, the MP of A’ Piraeus, Mr. Chr. Boutsikakis undertook to arrange this meeting and those MPs and Regional Governors who are interested in the issue are invited to support this effort and participate in the meeting.
- Any Municipality wishing to participate in th emeeting, should immediately inform the Municipality of Poros and specify in view of the meeting its demands.
Given theseriousness of this issue, the treatment of which should not be affected by the objective inability of some people to attend the meeting in Poros, the Municipality of Poros invites any Municipality and MP who may be interested in following, supporting and reinforcing the above actions, to inform the Municipality of Poros within two weeks.
It is noted that in the Saronic Gulf, the establishment of 5 P.O.A.Y is imminent (Salamina-Diaporia, Megara, Korfos-Epidaurus, Methana, Poros), through which the area of fish farming will increaseby 32 times and its production will be released after 5 years. Thus, the already polluted sea of the country, which is also an escape for 4 million inhabitants of the capital, will be transformed into a single industrial fish farming zone that will be the 1st fish producing area in Greece (whereas today it was 7th). This increase will result in a daily discharge of fish effluent into the sea corresponding to a human population of over 1.7 million people and tons of formalin, chemicals, foodwaste, etc. In fact, the above numbers do not include the data of individual fish farms, such as those in Agistri and Trikeri in Hydra. The above maritime areas, along with similar sized land areas, will be managed by the multinational company that now controls the Greek fish farming sector. Additionally, in these areas, packing plants, warehouses, private roads, port facilities and many more are about to be built in forests, coastal areas and beaches as well as in private sites that will no longer have other permitted uses.