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Greek fishing boats destroyed

- by Archimedes

Greek island fishing boats destroyed.

Alarm is growing at the deliberate destruction of thousands of traditional Greek island boats that have sailed the Mediterranean for centuries. Holidays in Greece and the Greek islands would not be the same without images of colourful fishing boats and caiques bobbing on the water in pretty sheltered harbours.

But Europe is offering big compensation payouts to Greek fishermen who choose to retire from fishing, and part of the deal is that their boats are smashed up so they cannot be used again.

It is estimated that more than 5,000 wooden hull boats, including sailing boats, trawlers, fishing boats and caiques have been destroyed in the scheme, as Europe tries to limit fishing in Mediterranean seas.

Now cultural activists have called for an end to the destruction and the loss of the cultural heritage that typifies Greek islands holidays. President of The Cultural Association of Traditional Boats, Nikos Kavallieros, is pressing the Greek government to propose alternative solutions.

He says traditional fishing boats, often gaily painted in bright colours are a national asset and should not be broken up. He claims that because traditional boats are taxed the same as modern boats of equal size, as well as being broken up, they are being replaced by unattractive vessels.

'As a result of this action, objects of our cultural heritage and the history of Greek navigation are being destroyed,' he warned. Some 38,000 workers in Greece have swapped profession in the recent economic crisis, turning to the farming and fishing industry, according to PASEGES, Greece's main farmers' union.

A study shows that the previous trend for workers to leave the agricultural sector has been reversed as the country's jobless rates hit record highs.

Farming is Greece's second largest industry, based on employee numbers and employs some 551,000 people, or 12.5 percent of the working population. Some 95 percent of the 38,000 workers turned to farming but only 5% to fishing, the report added