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In the fisheries sector, Greece aims at developing a sustainable and competitive aquaculture with an emphasis on the quality, safety and the tractability of the fisheries products.
The Common Fisheries Policy of the European Union aims at the sustainable management of the fisheries and aquaculture recourses from an economic, environmental and social perspective as well as the increase of the employment and social cohesion in coastal areas. However, problems such as overexploitation and gradually decreasing fish stocks still persist.
Aiming at addressing the above mentioned problems, the European Commission presented on 18/4/2011 a legislative package for the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. The most important elements of this new Policy are as follows:
1) until 2020 all catches must be adapted to the level of the “maximum sustainable yield”, which means that the fishermen will not be able to catch more fish than a certain stock can reproduce in a given year,
2) the member states must draw up multiannual plans for the management of stocks (based on scientific advice), in order to secure the sustainability of fishing,
3) throwing unwanted fish back into the sea, a practice known as “discarding” will be phased-out,
4) timetables will be applied for the cessation of overfishing and measures will be taken for the support of small coastal fishing. As regards the Mediterranean Sea, overfishing continues to be a widespread phenomenon. During the high level meeting regarding the state of the Mediterranean fish stocks (Catania, February 2016),it was agreed that immediate action is needed to reverse the downwards trends, taking into account the need to achieve the level of the “maximum sustainable yield” for all stocks by the year 2020,
5) the consumers will be better informed about the quality of the products that they buy,
6) decentralization of decisions. While the basic decisions will be taken in Brussels, the member states will be able to decide the appropriate measures for the preservation of stocks,
7) the fleet size will adapt to fishing possibilities. Fishermen’s organizations will play a stronger role in steering market supply and increasing fishermen’s profits,
8) financial support will only be granted to environmentally-friendly initiatives contributing to smart and sustainable growth. A strict control mechanism will rule out any illegal funding of illicit activities or overcapacity.
On 23/10/2015, the European Commission adopted the Greek Maritime and Fisheries Program for the period 2014-2020, which will be financed by the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. The total sum of the program amounts to approximately 390 million euro, aiming, on the one hand, to the sustainable growth of the fisheries sector, and on the other to enhancing competitiveness, protecting the environment and preserving the social and economic cohesion of the coastal regions and islands.
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