09 April 2008

Trawling near the coasts of Greece

Bottom trawling, a fishing method that drags a large net across the sea floor, is a known threat to the marine environment.

Due to the disruptive nature of this method, the European Regulation currently in force across the Mediterranean forbids trawling closer than 1.5 nautical miles from the seashore.

The Hellenic Centre for Marine Research has also demonstrated that trawling is the least selective of all fishing gears, with an annual bycatch rate up to 44%. The Greek Ministry for Rural Development and Food, in its National Operational Plan for Fisheries 2007-2013, acknowledges that “most benthopelagic species are in a state of relative overfishing or overfishing”.

Despite the European regulation and scientific evidence the Greek Ministry for Rural Development and Food, itself, has recently decided to allow the use of trawling nets at a distance of only 1 nautical mile from the coast.

A coalition of Greek conservation organizations, including Archelon, Mediterranean SOS Network, MOM, Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute, Greenpeace and WWF Greece, is calling for the immediate reversal of this decision, to prevent the destruction of coastal ecosystems and ensure sustainability of fishing in the long term.

Silvia Bonizzoni

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