The beautiful island of Poros, and indeed much of the Saronic Gulf, is under threat of becoming deemed an ‘Industrial Area for Organized Development of Aquaculture.’
Renowned for its lush vegetation, unspoilt beaches and picturesque villages, and just a 1 hour ferry ride from Piraeus port near Athens, the idyllic island of Poros has long been a popular island of Greece, especially for weekend getaways from the capital.
When the Municipality of Poros received an Environmental Study (SES) from the Ministry of Environment stating that the creation of the industrialised aquafarm (POAW) was in its final stages, the information was met with the dismay of the 4,000 residents of the tiny 31 kilometre square island.
POAW are areas designated to the exclusive activity of concentrated privatised fish farms which occupy huge sea and land areas, and operate privately without any involvement of the state.
The establishment of the POAW is all but finalised, waiting only on the issuance of a pending presidential decree which will commit land and sea space corresponding to over 6,000 acres on land (roughly one quarter of the island) and 2,690 acres at sea (an area that is 28 times larger than the 95 acres as currently committed).
New fish farms will be installed in the sea area with an annual production of 8,831 tonnes (an increase from 1,147 today), whilst on the land the lush forest, seashore and beach areas will be sacrificed to make way for the building of fish breeding stations, packaging and processing units, net washers, roads and port facilities.
The POAW will secure the exclusive use of the above area of the privatised fish farming activity, with the exclusion of any other use including yachts, housing, fisheries for a period of five years, after which the company will have the option to further increase the above areas and also to create more POAs.
The body will also be solely responsible for environmental control and the allocation of public land to the active fish farming companies (i.e. itself).
According to the Environmental Study, with the initial operation of the POAW, 14.8 tons of faeces (which corresponds to a city of 33,500 inhabitants), food waste, landfill waste, and toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, is to be dumped daily at sea.
Acclaimed American artist and author, Pamela Jane Rogers, who first fell in love with Greece on an art tour 30 years ago and now calls Poros home, started a petition in support of Poros against the impending aquafarm industrialisation ‘invasion’.
The petition, quickly gained momentum collecting over 1,000 signatures in the first couple of days, catching the attention of Saronic Magazine who shared the details on its website and encouraged further support.
“Signatures of support for the Resolution of the Municipal Council of Poros to prevent the crime of creating an industrial area of fish farms, are collected by friends of Poros from all over the world!” reads the article.
“The initiative of the painter and permanent resident of Poros Pamela Rogers – who has posted the relevant text in English – has found a moving response and in two days more than 1,000 signatures of friends of Poros from around the world have been collected.
“The friends of Poros, with their signatures and comments, ask for the island to remain authentic and pure, as it was loved by its thousands of visitors.
“This initiative has made the residents of Poros even more aware and the only sure thing is that the residents and friends of the island will strongly resist the plans for the industrialization of the Saronic diamond.
“You can support with a simple signature the struggle of the people of Poros HERE,” the Saraonic Magazine urges.
Supporters from all over the globe rushed to sign the online petition, posting comments to voice their opposition to industrialisation of the area citing varied reasons including the resulting catastrophic ecologic damage, the desecration of the beautiful coastline, and loss of income for island residents, such as local fisherman, boat charter companies and those relying on income from tourism.
United Kingdom – “Industrializing the coastline will cause catastrophic irreversible ecological damage, let alone turning a beautiful coast into a junk backyard.”
Greece – “I spend many summers in Poros and I think that an action like this is going to be a disaster for the island.”
Bulgaria – “I like Poros! Love going back whenever possible! United Kingdom – “It’s a beautiful place for our family”
Sweden – “Don’t mess up the future!”
Germany – “Respect nature and the place my family comes from.”
Malta – “To protect the environment and respect nature”
Belgium – “Sailed many times from/to Poros. Do not spoil this beauty!”
Namibia – “I care about the planet and what we leave our next generation.”
Queensland – “Because our environment matters.”
Italy – “Favorite island”
Netherlands – “Poros will lose its beautiful charm due to the fishing industry, along with its tourism and its income. This also means less income for the people who work around that industrial area such as boat rental companies who can no longer use the waters. And where are the children going to swim?
The petition ‘in support of Poros against the aquafarm industrial invasion’ has now reached 2,179 signatures, the number of which grows daily.
“I am so thrilled that my initiative has helped – thank you all for supporting this effort to keep Poros clean and beautiful for All!” says Pamela about the response she has received in support of her initiative to save Poros.
Pamela’s petition reads:
“Please add your name and share with your friends to help Poros Island! Your signature will help our commitment to retain the beauty, cleanliness and serenity of our island. Our population is only 4,000.
According to the recent study of the, proposal by Selonda fish industries, 14.8 tons of faeces (which corresponds to a city of 33,500 inhabitants), food waste, medicines such as formaldehyde, landfill waste, etc. will be dumped into our sea every day!!
Our Municipality is fighting this monstrous travesty, and we need all hands on board!
This is the Challenge we are up against.
Thank you for helping by signing and sharing with your friends!”
You can support the people of Poros by signing the petition here.
Read also on Greek City Times: