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Kefalonia fish farm plan protest

- by Joe Mason

Locals want fidh farm plans put on hold.

Plans to increase the number of fish farms on Kefalonia and Ithaca have come under fierce attack from islanders. They accuse regional officials of bulldozing through plans to allow vast fish farms to be built off the coasts of the holiday islands of Kefalonia and Ithaca.

Kefalonians fear the islands could be turned into vast fish farms and holiday tourists could go elsewhere. Areas earmarked for fish farms lie off the Kefalonia coast to the south-east between Skala, Poros and Sami; in the bay opposite Argostoli harbour north of Lixouri and off the southern coast of Ithaca.

The Regional Council is considering plans to allow offshore seas to be used for fish farming. But locals want the plans put on hold until there have been a full scientific, environmental and economic impact studies made.

Locals fear tourists will turn away from Kefalonia as the natural beauty is lost. They fear beaches will be polluted by fish farm sediment and warn that fish farm expansion does not have the consent of the community. The Kefalonia Association of Tourist Accommodation has denounced the decision as "unacceptable and nasty power to decide for others our own fate without us."

The Pronnoi Trade Association is also fighting the scheme. A spokesman said: "This decision removes any prospect of the tourism development between Poros and Sami, the most promising area in all the Ionian Islands".

Anger is growing over apparent lack of consultation. The regional council is accused of trying to push through the scheme without local backing.

Tourist leaders on Kefalonian are worried that, if the current schemes get the go ahead, it could open the floodgates for more fish farms.