Damanaki tries to reel in Greek trawlers

Greece?s European commissioner, Maria Damanaki, who is in charge of the fisheries department, revealed she has launched action against Athens for allowing trawlers to fish too close to the coastline.

Speaking to Skai TV on Sunday, the European commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries revealed she took action after the previous fisheries minister, Yiannis Diamantidis, issued a decision allowing trawlers to fish one mile (1.6 kilometers) from the coast rather than 1.5 miles, as EU rules stipulate.

?This is illegal and that is why I launched the procedure against Greece,? said Damanaki, who held talks with Alternate Development, Competitiveness and Merchant Marine Minister Haris Paboukis and informed him about possible penalties.

The implementation of fisheries policy has been hampered by the cabinet reshuffles since PASOK came into power in November 2009. Since then, the Agricultural Development Ministry, the Merchant Marine Ministry and now the Development Ministry have been in charge of fisheries matters.

Damanaki published proposals earlier this month for an overhaul of European fishing regulations. She warned that of the 136 stocks fished in EU waters, only eight would be at sustainable levels in 10 years? time. The Commission says that 82 percent of fish stocks caught in the Mediterranean are overfished.

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