Thermaikos Gulf

















Thermaikos Gulf, the largest gulf of the Aegean Sea, is located in Thessaloniki city and stretches to Larissa on the west and to Chalkidiki peninsula on the east. It is a semi-closed and relatively shallow area with a maximum depth of 45 meters. Its width ranges from 5 kilometers in its northern part, to 50 kilometers in its southernmost part. Thermaikos Gulf includes a wetland complex of estuaries, salt marshes and lagoons that provide an important habitat for wildlife and ecosystem services for the local communities and above. Four large rivers flow into the Gulf, Axios, Loudias, Aliakmonas and Gallikos, forming one of the most important ecosystems, surrounded by Kalochori lagoon, the mouth of the Gallikos river, the deltas of Axios and Aliakmonas river, the wetland of Nea Agathoupoli and the Aliki Kitrous.









The area belongs to the Natura2000 Protected Areas Network and is also protected by the Ramsar Convention, while most of the area is designated as a National Park.

The National Park covers an area of 338 sq km and 17 different habitats are recorded in it, 2 of which are Priority Habitats. Just a few kilometers away from the city of Thessaloniki, this extended coastal wetland complex of estuaries, salt marshes, lagoons and deltas combined with fields, grasslands and sand dunes create an ideal habitat and refuge for wildlife. Kalochori lagoon and the Kitrous salt marshes are by themselves important for the biodiversity.









More than 370 species of plants are observed in the area, 299 species of birds, 50 species of mammals, 27 species of amphibians and reptiles, more than 50 species of inland and marine fish and 65 species of invertebrates. Many of them are protected or threatened with extinction, while the area is of global ornithological importance, as it lies on the migration route of millions of birds, being one of the main migratory corridors of Europe.

In Axios Delta National Park many rare and protected species of birds are found, including dalmatian pelicans, flamingos, Black-tailed Godwits, swans, great and the pygmy cormorants; 66% of all bird species recorded in Greece. At the same time, mammal species inhabit the area, from bats and the Eurasian otter, to larger animals, such as buffaloes and foxes. As the area provides proper habitats, it hosts large populations of reptiles and amphibians, as well as the largest populations of the Mediterranean tortoise in Europe. The area is equally important for a large number of fish, many of which are protected.









Despite its high ecological value and its vital importance for the development of the cities around the gulf, Thermaikos has been significantly affected in the past by human interventions, while intensive activities continue to pose threat to the marine environment and the local biodiversity. The diversion of the Axios river, the creation of dams in Axios and Aliakmonas and the drainage system are some of the interventions that decisively affect the local ecosystem. At the same time, the intensive industrial, agricultural and livestock activity leads to water pollution with chemicals and heavy metals, but also to the construction of illegal facilities. Especially the case of Axios river, its pollution from urban and industrial waste that ends in the Thermaikos Gulf is a cross-border issue.









Thermaikos Gulf is also the largest mussel production area in Greece. Due to this intensive production, the waste related to mussel farming, especially plastic nets and cords, is one of the major sources of litter pollution for the area. Thus, within Plastic Busters MPAs, iSea is working in Axios Delta National Park with the aim of creating a derelict fishing gear management scheme through the active participation of mussel farmers.









Goals for 2023
The actions for preventing and mitigating litter from mussel farming in the Thermaikos Gulf continue:


Actions for 2023
Previous results & actions:
Project's Team
Anastasia Charitou

Anastasia Charitou

Anastasia is an educator, graduated from the Department of Primary School Education, with a master degree in Environmental Education, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Department of Biology in collaboration with the Department of Preschool Education). She has worked in the field of mainstream and special education for 4 years.

At iSea she was coordinating projects related to Aquatic Litter, since 2018. The projects were including the implementation of coastal and underwater cleanups, the active involvement of target groups in tackling the issue of marine litter pollution and the design and implementation of awareness raising campaigns on marine pollution from plastics and microplastics in the Greek seas.

She is now coordinating the “Human and Aquatic Ecosystem” department of iSea, as a Director, designing and implementing educational activities and projects aimed at the active involvement of the public in environmental protection with the aim to redefine our relation with the environment. She coordinated the publication of the environmental education guide for the disabled and is responsible for projects related to the promotion of active participation and the education of citizens for the sustainable management of the environment and the implementation of proper measures aiming at sustainable development.

Her main research interests are related to issues of environmental education and ethics, as well as environmental knowledge and perceptions of citizens on different environmental topics. She’s the Communication Officer of iSea.


Contact Info:

Εmail: [email protected]

Tel. +302313090696

mob. +306947025392

Ioanna Tzioga

Ioanna Tzioga

Ioanna was born in Thessaloniki in 1995, she studied at the University of Thessaly, at the Department of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment in Volos. Her Bachelor Thesis, focused in the variation of phytochromes and phycocyanin in the port of Volos. She completed her internship at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, at the Department of Biology, by being mainly involved in data collection.

In 2019 she conducted her MSc at the International University of Greece in Thessaloniki, at the Department of Food Science and Technology. Her Diploma Thesis is related to microplastics in the sediment on the sandy shores of Thessaloniki’s Gulf. She has attended various seminars about the Aquatic Environment and about Digital Marketing. Moreover, she has obtained Information Technology (IT) and First Aid Certifications. Currently, she works at iSea as an Aquatic Litter Pillar Director. 

Contact Info: 

E-mail: [email protected]

tel. +302313090696

mob: +306978050685
Katerina Katsaouni

Katerina Katsaouni

Katerina was born in Thessaloniki in 1998. She studied Environmental Sciences in the University of the Aegean, Department of Environment, in Mytilene. During her studies she focused on environmental education and green entrepreneurship. She has basic knowledge of R, ArcGIS and SPSS. She speaks three languages, Greek (native), English (C2), German (B1) and she is also able to communicate in Greek Sign Language. In iSea she works as a Project Manager.

Contact Info: 

Email: [email protected]

tel. +302313090696