WWF: Greek seas threatened by new trawling decision Published: 04 April, 2008
A European Regulation, in force across the Mediterranean, forbids trawling any closer than 1.5 nautical miles from the seashore
A DECISION to allow trawl fishing close to the shoreline in Greece risks endangering fragile marine life on the coastal seabed, says a coalition of conservation organisations.
The coalition, including WWF Greece, is calling for the immediate reversal of this decision.
The Greek Ministry for Rural Development and Food agreed on March 5 to allow fishermen to use trawling gear at a distance of only one nautical mile from the coast, despite the European Regulation currently in force across the Mediterranean, which forbids trawling any closer than 1.5 nautical miles from the seashore.
It is extremely disappointing that the Greek government has taken this decision without consulting stakeholders including fishermen, NGOs, scientists or carrying out a thorough environmental impact assessment, says Giorgos Paximadis, marine officer at WWF Greece.
We are demanding an immediate reversal of this maverick decision, for the health of our marine resources.
Data from the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research demonstrates that trawling is the least selective of all fishing gears, with an annual bycatch rate of some 44 per cent and Greeces Ministry for Rural Development and Food itself acknowledges that most benthopelagic species are in a state of relative overfishing or overfishing, in its National Operational Plan for Fisheries 2007-2013.
Paving the way like this for more indiscriminate destruction of marine life should not be allowed, adds Paximadis.
But by reversing this decision now it is possible to give a better chance for the sustainability of our coasts, and thus to give fishermen more security in the long term.
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