Spatial planning for Aquaculture: a Special National Framework for resolving local conflicts
During the 25 last years, Greece has registered a spectacular growth of the aquaculture sector. The advantages of its coasts especially favoured marine fish aquaculture that developed into one of the most productive economic sectors in the country. Greece historically dominated production of sea bass and sea bream in the Mediterranean and on EU level. This production is mainly export-oriented and tends to be enriched with other species. The sector's development took place in absence of a regulatory framework on spatial planning of productive activities. Under these conditions important concentrations have been formed in areas that have been proved to be favourable for aquaculture. Conflicts over the use of the coastal area are usual in many parts of the country and aquaculture development is often resisted, partly as a result of past bitter experience but mainly because the farms location is seen as an impediment to future tourist or second home development. The Council's of the State rulings have overturned many administrative acts regarding individual location permits on the grounds that they were not granted in accordance to the provisions of formal spatial plans. Under these conditions in which all permits risked to be revoked, the Greek producers have solicited and keenly supported the elaboration of a special spatial plan on national scale. The National Framework regulates the spatial organization of aquaculture in both fresh and marine waters. It covers cultivation of any organism, which lives in the water. The main part reports to marine finfish aquaculture but it also embraces provisions on shellfish cultivation, as well as on other types of aquaculture that take place in the country (fresh water production, fish farming in lagoons etc). It proposes the development of a system for the location of fish farms, based on a zoning principle. However, it recognizes the need for individual location in special cases.
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