The Ancient Greeks believed that sharks were a source of magical powers. Aeschines wrote about Apollo punishing politicians who had ignored him by sending sharks to attack them while they were bathing in the sea. In History of Animals, Aristotle recorded the first scientific study of sharks, skates and rays.
Greece has more fishing vessels than any other EU Member State (about 20% of EU fleet).
In 2009, conservationists condemned the illegal landing of two basking sharks in one week in Greece. The European Commission’s top fisheries official hails from Greece.
Over the years, most Greek catches of sharks and rays have been recorded in four broad categories: dogfish, smoothhounds, rays, and thornback rays. These catches come from primarily from the Mediterranean and Black Seas.
Following a peak in the 1990s, Greece’s shark and ray landings, driven by ray catches, declined rather steeply to then level off since the mid-2000s. Today rays as well as smoothhounds dominate the catch. In recent years, Greece has started reporting a few dozen tones of guitarfishes (endangered rays whose fins are valuable for shark fin soup).
Greece reports virtually no export of shark and dogfish products. Imports have fluctuated over the last few decades, consisting mostly of fresh dogfish and frozen shark products (that could include dogfish). The proportion of fresh dogfish imports has increased since the late 1990s.
In 2010, Maria Damanaki, the representative of Greece in the European Commission, took over as the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
Greece has 22 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), 16 of whom (73%) signed the Written Declaration (71/2010) in support of strengthening the EU shark finning ban.
Greek MEP Kriton Arsenis (S&D), the only Greek member of the Fisheries Committee who signed the Written Declaration on finning, received the European Grand Prize in the “Sustainable Aegean” campaign in 2009.
Greece has 12 votes in the EU Fisheries Council.
Greece does not issue the special permits that allow EU fishermen to remove shark fins at sea under the current EU finning regulation. Greek fishermen are therefore required to land sharks with their fins still attached.
At the March 2012 EU Fisheries Council, Greece supported the Commission’s proposal to require all sharks to be landed with fins attached.
|Beyond EU and international commitments, there are no national protections for shark and ray species in Greece.
||You can find a full list of Greece-based members of the Shark Alliance on our member pages.
Greece Country Profile
19.03.2009 Gentle giants taken despite protection Read
European Shark Weekl in Greece 2011 Read
21.11.2011 Shark Alliance photo call with Fisheries Minister Maria Damanaki Read
10.10.2011 European Shark Week opens with call to Make the PUSH to protect Europes sharks (Greek) Read
Concerned citizens, particularly those of Greece, can help by expressing to Greek officials support for:
- active promotion for an EU-wide ban on at-sea shark fin removal
- immediate national protections for all endangered shark and ray species
- EU measures to conserve Mediterranean shark and rays species
- fulfilment of Barcelona Convention commitments on shark and ray conservation, and
- recording of shark and ray landings and trade by species and product.