Fishermen angling for access to monks’ fish

Angry fishermen from Halkidiki in northern Greece blocked off Mount Athos’s main access point at Ouranoupoli for an hour yesterday to protest against an agreement which bans them from fishing around the peninsula on which the semi-autonomous monastic republic rests. The coastal fishermen complained about the rule, which bans any vessel from approaching within 500 meters of the coast around Mount Athos – one of Orthodox Christianity’s holiest sites. Only boats carrying monks or visitors with permits are allowed to breach the buffer zone. The council of Halkidiki prefecture recently labeled the rule «unacceptable» and called for it to be repealed. The Holy Community is due to meet on May 5 at Karies, the administrative capital of Mount Athos, with government and local authority officials as well as representatives of the fishermen to search for a solution to the problem.

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