Residents on the Greek island of Poros are rallying against the multimillion-euro plan to expand fish-farms on the small island by 28 times.
Poros, the popular island in the Aegean Sea, is within an hour ferry ride from Athens and attracts eco-tourists from around the world annually because of its pine forests and gorgeous coastlines.
The company behind the fish-farm plan is Valencia-based Avramar, Europe’s leading producer of farmed fish which also owns 70 percent of Greece’s fish production.
The plan is set to expand the island’s four existing fish farms by 28 times, covering over 25 percent of land and sea on Poros. It is predicted the annual fish production within five years will go from 1,000 metric tonnes to over 8,000.
Locals are opposed to the fish farm on Poros claiming it will have a devastating impact on the environment and the local tourist economy.
Poros local, Katerina Sakelliou, who owns Odyssey Centre, said locals were told back in 2020 as part of the government initiative, fish farms would improve the economy on the island and provide more work. However, there are only about 15 people employed by the four existing fish farms on Poros island out of 3,000 residents.
“Time has shown that the current farms employ very few local people, and have brought only contamination and damage to the environment,” Katerina said.
According to Euronews, the fish-farms also run the risk of destroying underwater ecosystems with waste food and faeces impacting wild fish, and further endangering European monk seals and Posidonia (seagrass) meadows.
Early this year, fish-farming was approved for the area of Xiromero, even though locals protested against the farms. It is unknown when the decision for Poros will be concluded, however, the fish farm proposal is part of the Greek government’s wider plan to expand aquaculture in the country.