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Greek PM bans bottom trawling in the country’s MPAs


In a positive move for the fishing tackle industry in southern Europe, the Prime Minister of Greece has introduced a ban on bottom trawling in the country’s marina protected areas (MPAs) – the first such fishing ban in Europe.

However, the move on the controversial netting operation will not be fully introduced until 2030, last week’s Our Ocean world conference was told at the event that was held in Athens earlier this month.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis told delegates that Greece will start with national marine parks where bottom fishing will be banned by 2026 and then will proceed to do to the same in all marine protected areas by 2030.

The announcement was delivered on the same day that Oceana – the international organisation working to preserve and restore the world’s oceans – revealed that bottom fishing is still carried out in 90% of European protected areas despite the European Commission’s recommendation to the member states to phase it out by 2030.

Greece is the first country to pledge to this. “We hope this creates a domino effect on other European countries to do the same,” said Nicolas Fournier, Oceana’s European Campaign Manager.

To achieve the goal, Mitsotakis promised to deploy a state-of-the-art surveillance system, ‘powered by drones, satellites and artificial intelligence’ to effectively patrol the protected areas by 2026.

In addition to this ban, two new national parks will be created, one in the Ionian Sea and one in the Aegean Sea, increasing the size of the country’s marine protected areas by 80%.

Mitsotakis also committed to eliminating 50% of marine plastic waste by 2030 and promised that 21 actions will be implemented thanks to a budget of €780 million.

“The ocean has paid a heavy price for its service to humankind. It has been a vital source of life and livelihood. We have not been kind to it in return,” Mitsotakis said.

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