The National Park is particularly densely populated. Within its boundaries we find approximately 42 residential centers with 45,000 inhabitants. The main anthropogenic activities in the area of EPAMATH are agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing and tourism.
The rural areas cover the largest percentage of the area and are the main economic resource of the area, affecting to a certain extent the natural ecosystem. In particular, in the Vistonida lake basin, the agricultural activity has the effect of burdening the surface waters with specific effects, the eventual creation of eutrophication phenomena from the use and end of fertilizers. Also the practice of over-pumping water from boreholes for increased application rates, combined with increased rates of pesticides and nutrients and combined with sandy soils, lead to significant burdens on groundwater. As a consequence, the problem of groundwater salinization arose, which is observed throughout the Park, but is particularly pronounced in the coastal section between the Vistonida lagoon and the Ismarida lake. Today, due to overpumping, there is no natural outflow of groundwater anywhere in the area.
In order to capture the current situation of the underground aquifer in the territorial boundaries of the National Park of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, the Management Body assigned to the Democritus University of Thrace a relevant study entitled “Report of the Registration of the Problem of Submergence of Underground Coastal Aquifers of the EPAMA. Th. and Formulation of Countermeasures”, which was completed in 2014. Since then the conclusions are used in the expression of opinion – opinion of the F.D. for water abstraction projects.
From the recording of the existing situation in the hydrogeological units of the EPAMATH it follows that the phenomenon of salinity increment is particularly intense and causes significant effects on the environment and the local economy. For this reason, it is considered very important to take the appropriate measures in time to avoid the extension of the phenomenon to non-burdened zones. Taking into account the above, two levels of protection zones are demarcated throughout the entire area of the Park of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace.
You can download the salinity zones in shp format here.
The attached map shows the intensity zones of the salinity problem, with the red zone representing the area where it faces a scientifically documented salinity problem, while the green zone represents areas where, based on the available data, there is currently no significant salinity problem.
Main crops are cereals, corn, rice and fruit trees, but other crops such as asparagus, tobacco and vines are also found. In the extensive pastures of the area, many herds of sheep, goats, cows, and buffaloes are also fed, two herds at the Kompsatos estuary and one in the Western part of Delta Nestos, an action promoted by the Management Body.
Almost all the large lagoons in the area, as well as an extensive network of artificial canals, are used for fishing using extensive fish farming methods, catching large quantities of fish and seafood, such as bream, heads, eels, sea bass and crabs. Many of these lagoons (e.g. Porto Lagos lagoon, Delta Nestos lagoons) are managed by local fishing cooperatives.
In addition, shellfish aquaculture, mainly mussels, is developing in the marine area of EPAMATH. Although there is no defined POAY to date, shellfish aquaculture is mainly developed in the Gulf of Kavala and specifically in the marine area near the lagoons of the Western Delta of Nestos.
Two of the area’s lagoons are also used as salt pans, for the industrial production of salt, in Nea Kessani and in Mesi.
Tourism shows an increasing trend in recent years. Various categories of tourism are being developed for all seasons of the year, eco-tourism, agro-tourism, historical, religious and marine tourism. Over 80,000 people annually visit the wider area of EPAMATH, of which 25,000 spend at least one night in hotels/accommodations in the area.
Important points of interest are the riverside forest of Keramoti with its path, the beach and beach of Keramoti, the port of Keramoti, the Nestos Delta Information Center, the heron colony in Keramoti, the western embankment of the Nestos River and the estuary of the river, the ancient Topiros and Pistyros, the path of Nestos in Galani, Tekes in Selino, Anastasioupoli, the port of Abdira, the archaeological site and the Museum of Abdira, the beach of Mandras and its marshes, the observatory in Lafrouda and the Aliki of Nea Kessani, the baths of Potamia, the Vistonida-Ismarida Lakes Information Center, the port and heron colony in Porto Lagos, the islets of Lagos Beach, the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos, the settlement of Sarakatsani, the port of Fanario, the lagoons Xirolimni, Karatza, Arogi beach and Ismarida lake. The possibilities for leisure activities are varied, the main ones being the sea baths on the beaches of the area (Keramoti, Abdira, Mandra, Fanari), amateur fishing, hiking trails in the hills, in the riverside forests, visiting the archaeological site of Abdira, bird watching in the lagoons and in the surrounding area.
In the Natura 2000 areas that were included in the competence of the F.D. based on Law 4519/2018, all the mentioned activities are answered and the operation of marble quarries is added to some of them (Thassos, Stena Nestos).