NEWS

Seas of Greece contain treasures and piles of trash

Though the research conducted by the Hellenic Center of Marine Research (HCMR) has made it one of the largest institutes in the Mediterranean, the center has not been able to get its projects fully afloat thus far. In particular, the absence of any unified policy or central planning for research has led to a total absence of national programs concerned with the Greek sea and seabed, HCMR president George Chronis told Kathimerini. There is, however, one exception to the rule: an ambitious venture, now being jointly planned by the center, the Development Ministry and the army’s hydrographic service, to chart the Greek seabed and create a three-dimensional map of it. The mission is set to begin in 2006 (although the joint ministerial decision on which it all depends has yet to be issued), as will an attempt to pinpoint submerged ancient shipwrecks. Heading it all will be Professor Robert Ballard of Rhode Island University, who was also involved in the search for the wreck of the Titanic. In an interview with Kathimerini, Chronis also warned that overfishing is the number one threat to Greek seas and revealed that the bed of the Aegean has come to resemble a garbage dump in places.