Table 1. Institutional event timeline.

Early 1980s
• Initial development of the mussel-farming activity in the area of Chalastra.
• Local authorities’ initiative for the regulation of the activity.
• The act is not promoted because the central government demands that any regulation should comprehend the activity at a national level. The necessary management studies for that are not available at the time.
• The property rights for the activity are controlled from the regional authority, with the contribution of 13 other public authorities and in the absence of the aforementioned management regulation. The operation licenses are valid for 10 years and can be renewed after that time.

Late 1980s to early 1990s
• Local community requests the expansion of mussel activity in the area.
• The activity is recognized as compatible with the Ramsar convection. This action promotes development of mussel farming and of supportive structures (small piers for the water vessels, wooden houses for equipment and processing activities).
• The number of operation licenses for the activity in the area is doubled. In order to maximize their profit, the mussel farmers are using excessive cultivation techniques, but because a management regulation is still missing the authorities are unable to address this problem.
• The activity is further developed in other areas of the Thermaikos Gulf.

Late 1990s early 2000s
• The legal framework for the regulation of the productive activities (in which mussel farming belongs) in “organized areas” is released.
• The first scientific study in the mussel-farming areas of Chalastra and Loudias is implemented by the National Center of Marine Research.
• Two management studies for the establishment of the Organized Area of Aquaculture Development (OAAD) of the Thermaikos Gulf are implemented. Local administration requests for approval from the authorities regulating the activity in the area, and from the central government (Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works).
• The regional authority, awaiting for the OAAD approval, is turning down all the requests for renewal of the expired operation licenses for the mussel farms of Chalastra.
• The operational licenses are gradually expiring. Local authorities agree to overlook this situation until it is regulated by the OAAD. The units with expired operational licenses continue to operate, but they are subject to fines.

During 2000s
• The OAAD approval is delayed because of excessive bureaucracy.
• The mussel farmers that now lack operational licenses ask for a solution. A social conflict is created because the mussel farmers with valid operational licenses demand to be the only ones that can exploit the area. Mussel production is declining, enhancing the social conflict.

• The OAAD approval is still delayed.
• The structure of municipal, prefectural, and regional governance is changed, creating confusion regarding the new authorities of each public body.
• The Framework for the “Rural Design and Sustainable Development for Aquaculture” is open for public deliberation. This framework is covering, among others, certain parameters of the OAAD's operation.