Poachers threatening Athonite monks with forest arson

Holy Mount Athos, May 15, 2014


"The barbarous destruction of fish near the coast of Athos continues." The "Archipelagos" Greek Marine Conservation Institute has made a report on the current crisis situation, reports AgionOros.ru.

The specialists regret to state that poaching near the shores of Mt. Athos has reached catastrophic proportions. Not only do the criminals use illegal fishing techniques, but they also fish in the prohibited protected zone (in 500 meters from the Holy Mount's coast).

On legal grounds only monks, who use traditional fishing methods that do not pose a threat to fish resources of the region, are allowed to fish near the seacoast. There are spawning areas for many species of fish near the shores of Athos, and therefore if the poachers continue their illegal activities with impunity, they could bring ecological calamity to the whole region.

Cases of illegal fishing recorded by the “Archipelagos” institute, were registered chiefly near the south coast of Holy Mount Athos, where mainly small and materially poor monasteries are situated. The researchers’ report indicates that, “poachers are intimidating monks, threatening to burn down the forests around monasteries if the monks complain about the violators to the coast guard”.

The problem of poaching is also related to the leniency of the Greek administrative code: relatively small fines are imposed even on those detained for violations.



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