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A Call to Save a Greek Tradition

A key element of Greece’s tourist allure, the traditional wooden fishing boats that brighten many an island harbor, is facing a major threat of extinction due to EU policies and government indifference, activists warned last month.

At an Athens press conference, a society named “Friends of Traditional Vessels” said that  wooden boats are being gradually replaced by plastic vessels, particularly high-powered inflatable craft. This is mainly due to EU directives intended to reduce the union’s fishing fleet. “Since 1991, the Ministry of Agriculture has backed and subsidized the destruction of over 10,000 traditional vessels,” the society’s chairman, Manolis Psarros, said. The society has managed to preserve 25 representative craft.

Mr. Psarros called for government action to encourage the use of decommissioned fishing boats in the tourism industry, and urged tax breaks for the owners of traditional boats.

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