Stable steps towards solving the issue of mussel farming waste in the National Park of the Delta of Axios – Loudias – Aliakmon

Following the invitation of iSea, the Deputy Minister of the Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy, Giorgos Amiras, visited Chalastra, accompanied by the Office Director of the Prime Minister in Thessaloniki Maria Antoniou, representatives of N.E.C.C.A, the Municipality of Delta and the local associations of mussel farmers. The Deputy Minister was informed about the persistent issue of mussel farming waste, the actions that have been carried out, as well as the next steps toward solving the issue.

One of the most intensive activities that take place in the Thermaic Gulf is mussel farming, which overtakes 80% of the overall Greek mussel production, and it comprises an important activity for the local community, but also the national economy. Conversely, the extensive mussel production in the area is estimated that produces as many as 10 tons of plastic mussel farming nets ending up in the environment annually, which makes up one of the greatest issues in the area in decades.

For the last three years, iSea is working constantly, in collaboration with N.E.C.C.A., with the associations of mussel farming in Chalastra and Kimina and their representatives Evangelos Koutroutsios and Konstantinos Vervitis respectively, targeting the proper management of plastic mussel farming nets. The effort started as a pilot project with the support of MIO-ECSDE in the framework of the program Plastic Busters MPAs and was soon reinforced by the contribution of the Region of Central Macedonia.

The spirit of cooperation that has been created among all stakeholders for such an important issue concerning the area, has already led to the recycling of 30 tons of plastic mussel farming nets and the identification of specific locations for their separate collection. Soon these locations will be designated as official mussel farming net disposal points, while more waste containers will be placed in other locations.

In this framework, we take stable steps toward the management of this issue in cooperation with the local community. Currently, we are collectively planning the next steps focusing on the reduction of the local waste footprint of the mussel farming activity.