Government fisheries policy is fully aligned with the principles of the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy and focuses on sustainable fisheries management as well as the restoration and conservation of aquatic biological resources, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Petros Xenophontos said on Saturday. , while noting that in the period 2021-2027 approximately €55 million are expected to be allocated, with the EU contribution amounting to 70% for projects related to the development of the fishing sector and the protection of the marine environment.
In his greeting at the 8th Fish Festival organized by the Municipality of Polis Chrysochous, Mr. Xenophontos stated that the Ministry, which he heads, has set as its primary goal the support of the fishing sector and ensuring the viability of the fishing profession through the protection and sustainable management of fish stocks, the support of fishing communities, the improvement of fishing infrastructure and the working conditions of fishermen, especially small-scale coastal fishing, which is the backbone of the fishing sector in Cyprus.
In order to achieve this goal, he added, the Ministry of Agriculture attaches great importance to the utilization of European funds, exhausting every possibility of securing European resources.
Indicatively, for projects related to the development of the fishing sector and the protection of the marine environment, Mr. Xenophontos mentioned how €53 million were allocated for the period 2014-2020, of which €39 million from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the rest from national participation, while for the period 2021-2027 it is expected that approximately €55 million, with the EU's contribution amounting to 70%.
Mr. Xenophontos noted that as an island nation, Cyprus has always relied heavily on the services and goods provided by the sea that surrounds it.
Fishing, for example, as the main primary activity in the marine area, although it is a small sector of the Cyprus economy, is considered particularly important, as he said, "because it offers economic and social benefits to coastal areas by creating jobs and the availability of high quality healthy products to consumers”.
He also added that fresh fish and seafood are food with significant nutritional value, they are a valuable source of proteins and rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered an integral part of a balanced healthy diet.
Speaking to reporters about the festival, he said that the event has now become an institution and is a huge success. After congratulating the Municipality of Paphos, Mr. Xenodontos expressed his impression of the turnout.
Events like today's, said, they highlight in the best way, our relationship with the sea and the goods it generously offers us, as well as the importance of protecting the marine environment so that we and our children can continue to enjoy these goods in the future.
In his greeting, the Mayor of Polis Chrysochous Giotis Papachristofis said that this year's festival is particularly upgraded and includes various activities and a rich artistic program with live music and dance groups. In the festival area, he added, there are booths of exhibitors with traditional products and a demonstration of traditional arts, a demonstration by fishermen on the art of fishing and a booth of the Department of Fisheries to inform the public about various fishing issues.
Mr. Papachristofis also said that the festival included a rich artistic program with the participation of the popular singers Droulias Brothers, Georgios Stamataris and Stavrianas Koutras. In the framework of the Festival, traditional Cypriot dances were presented by the Cultural Folklore Workshop of Konia PO.LA.EK. and the Folklore Society "Ta Plumia".
During the Festival a flyboard show was held, while at the Festival there was an art workshop for children organized this year by talented artist Fotini Mihailidis, with the aim of creatively engaging children in issues related to the sea. At the event there were mascots with a theme related to the festival, with which the children had the opportunity to take photos in a special photo booth.
Leonidas Leonidou, president of the Paphos Coastal Fishing Association, in his statements to journalists said that this year the fishermen offered around 1,000 kilos of marida, which is a seasonal species of the region, as part of the organization of the festival.
For his part, the community leader Chlorakas Nikolas Liasidis said that the Fish Festival of P. Chrysochous is one of the most successful festivals and this year it was visited by 2,000-3,000 people.
The event was attended by, among others, the Director of the Ministry of Agriculture Andreas Grigoriou, the Director of the Fisheries Department, the president of the Cyprus Ports Authority , Mayors of the district of Pafos and community leaders.