NEWS

Greece entangled in drift nets

Environmentalist group Greenpeace called on the government yesterday to help enforce bans on drift-net fishing techniques used in the international waters surrounding the country which it says are hurting local fish populations. Sofia Tsenikli, who oversees the campaign concerning the marine environment, said that Greece needs to coordinate with its neighbors and stop the fishing method which also traps endangered sea turtles, dolphins and swordfish. «The uncontrolled use of drift nets is a scandal after the complete ban by the European Union. It is illegal, unethical and must be stopped,» Tsenikli said. «Greece needs to take a position in the EU and to enforce existing laws,» she added. Drift nets have been outlawed by the United Nations since 1992 and by the EU since 2002 but continue to be used, especially in international waters which national coast guards do not monitor. The nets are lowered by boats to catch fish and are carried along with the current or tide. Greenpeace says that it has found drift nets, on occasions reaching more than 15 kilometers long, being used by fishing boats from Italy, Turkey, Morocco and France. On one occasion, a net was found to have entangled 13 dolphins, which subsequently died. Greece could coordinate with Turkey and Italy to help stamp out this practice, according to the environmentalists. The practice also harms the local fishing industry as law-abiding fishermen watch fish populations shrink. Greenpeace repeated calls yesterday for setting up marine reserves in Greece that could help protect fish species from overfishing and pollution.