A wetland complex of freshwater lakes and coastal lagoons, with reedbeds (Phragmites), wet meadows and saltmarsh.
The area is important for breeding, passage and wintering waterbirds and raptors, and breeding species associated with reedbeds. Species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Branta ruficollis (wintering), Haliaeetus albicilla (2-4 non-breeding individuals), Aquila clanga (5 wintering individuals), Aquila heliaca (wintering), Falco naumanni (passage).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site is threatened by drainage in the eastern part of Vistonis, and water pollution from intensive agricultural, industrial and domestic sources. The wetland is also threatened by agricultural and urban expansion, excessive water abstraction and hunting. A land-use zonation system exists but has yet to be established legally. Part of the area is a candidate SAC.
National High International High400 ha of IBA covered by Wildlife Refuge (Fanariou/Porto Lagos, 400 ha). 930 ha of IBA covered by Wildlife Refuge (Limni Vistonida/Lagou, Kessanis, 930 ha). Part of IBA covered by Protected Area. Part of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Lake Vistonis, Porto Lagos, Lake Ismaris and adjoining lagoons, 24,396 ha). 14,500 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Lake Vistonis, Porto Lagos, Lake Ismaris and adjoining lagoons, 24,396 ha).