CEO Spotlight: Lefteris Arapakis Director, Co-founder of Enaleia
Enaleia is a non-profit social enterprise that follows the circular economy model. From its inception until now, it has been tackling marine plastic pollution and overfishing, urging anglers to fish sustainably and bring their plastic bycatch back to port.
Enaleia has spread its winds not only in Greece but also in other places of the world like Italy and Kenya. Through the “Mediterranean cleansingin the Mediterranean Sea and the “Bahari Safiin the Indian Ocean, Enaleia works with more than 1,500 fishermen in Greece, Italy and Kenya.
Lefteris Arapakis, director and co-founder of Enaleia, in an interview with CEOWORLD magazine, describes the main objective of Enaleia and the efforts it makes for the promotion of fishing tourism in Greece. It informs us about projects taking place in different locations, from mega cleanup projects to consultancy and research projects and is aligned on three pillars: education, mitigation and prevention.
Enaleia, through collaborations, has succeeded in transforming part of the fishing gear collected, used and discarded into sustainable products, such as socks, with its partner Healthy Seas, in the Netherlands. The collected PET is used by Enaleia partner Ecoalf Foundation in Spain, where they produce sustainable fashion products like coats and shoes. Some of Enaleia’s mix of ocean plastic and fishing nets is sent to Gravity Wave in Spain, where they produce sustainable products like furniture. In collaboration with Skyplast, Enaleia has succeeded in transforming more than 60% of the ocean plastic collected into plastic pellets. With this raw material, various companies are able to produce almost any type of durable product.
Continue reading the interview with Lefteris Arapakis…
Q: You come from a Greek fishing family. To what extent has this course helped you in the development of Enaleia?
Lefteris Arapakis: Coming from a long line of fishermen, I decided to break the chain and educate fishing communities to fish less while increasing their income. I used to work with my father part-time during my studies, so in 2016 I first knew about the challenges the fishing industry in Greece was facing.
The strong connection I have with fishing communities also helped me to inspire local fishermen in Piraeus, whom I knew well, to bring their plastic bycatch back to port and start the “Mediterranean cleansing” project.
Q: Do you have partnerships abroad? In which countries? Are there any ongoing projects?
Lefteris Arapakis: Enaleia has built a strong network that includes all relevant stakeholders to tackle marine pollution and overfishing issues, from local fishing communities to circular economy partners.
With the “Mediterranean cleansingin the Mediterranean Sea and the “Bahari Safiin the Indian Ocean, Enaleia works with more than 1,500 fishermen in Greece, Italy and Kenya. We also collaborate with many companies and international organizations such as the United Nations Environment Programme. (see the complete list here)
Q: What are your future projects for Enaleia?
Lefteris Arapakis: Going forward, our goal is to expand our actions to more countries and ensure that every fisherman in the world is part of the solution. We will continue to focus on creating win-win relationships between human society and nature to establish new sustainable business models that will allow coastal communities to coexist in harmony with nature.
Q: Does the Greek fishing sector have any prospects for the future?
Lefteris Arapakis: Over the past two decades, marine resources have been overexploited, and if we want to talk about the future of the fishing sector, we must take drastic measures and encourage fishermen to adopt sustainable fishing techniques such as fishing tourism. sin.
Fishing tourism is a very big opportunity for Greek fishermen. With the longest coastline in Europe, the largest number of fishing boats and one of the continent’s most enduring traditions in boat building and professional fishing, Greece stands to tap into the vast potential of fishing tourism. sustainable.
A fisherman can increase his income while decreasing his fishing effort. Instead of catching 50 to 100 kilos of fish a day, he can catch 5 to cook for his customers. At the same time, visitors can see something of the traditional ways of Greece. According to studies, 10% of tourists visiting Greece are interested in recreational fishing. They want to discover the different types of fishing, see how fish are caught, learn how to cook and taste them.
In Enaleia we do everything we can to promote fishing tourism. Since 2019, through “Fish smarter” we train professional fishermen in sustainable fishing practices such as fishing tourism. It’s a great example of how the profession of fishing can survive without harming the environment.
Q: What do you consider to be the milestones in the operation of the company from its inception until today?
Lefteris Arapakis: Recently, the newest project in Kenya, “Bahari Safi”, has escalated and will become one of the biggest plastic cleanups in the oceans. Thanks to our new partnership with ClimeCothe project in Kenya will generate plastic credits through will see. A plastic credit is an environmental commodity that represents the collection or recycling of one ton of plastic material, which can be used in companies’ ESG, CSR and sustainability programs.
With additional funding from ClimeCo and the sale of credits, we estimate to collect over 1,000 tons of plastic per year. Now, thanks to the plastic credit model, we can also start setting up large-scale plastic clean-up projects that can have a real impact on our oceans.
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