The designations employed and the presentation of material in the map(s) are for illustration only and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal or constitutional status of any country, territory or sea area, or concerning the delimitation of frontiers or boundaries.
Part I of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile is compiled using the most up-to-date information available from the FAO Country briefs and Statistics programmes at the time of publication. The Country Brief and the FAO Fisheries Statistics provided in Part I may, however, have been prepared at different times, which would explain any inconsistencies.
Country briefUpdated 12-2014
Greece encompasses a geographical area of 132 000 km² with a population of 11.3 million people in 2013. The coastline is 15 000 km long. There are 21 natural lakes and 14 artificial lakes, while the 33 deltas of the Greek rivers cover 327 100 hectares. The seas around the Greek peninsula, which include the Ionian, Aegean, Thracian, Cretan, and Libyan Seas, are generally deep (reaching a maximum depth 5 121 m in the Eastern Ionian Sea) with narrow continental shelf and steep slopes. The Greek national waters are limited to 6 miles.
Greece has typically multi-gear and multi-species fisheries, in which about 16 000 fishing boats are involved. More than 97 percent of the marine catches come from the Mediterranean Sea with the rest caught by distant water fleets in the Eastern Central Atlantic. The most important species are sardine, anchovy, seabreams and hake. Catches in both Mediterranean waters and in the Eastern Central Atlantic have been substantially decreasing since the mid-1990s. In 2013, total marine catch was estimated at about 63 600 tonnes that is about 59 percent less than in 1997. Capture production from inland waters was about 1 000 tonnes in 2013, which has minor economic importance.
In Greece, similar to other Mediterranean countries, most of the fishing activity takes place within 12 nm from the coast, with approximately 95 percent of the fleet comprising of vessels operating small-scale coastal fisheries. A fleet reduction policy was implemented, in line with the European Union’s policy to reduce fleet capacity, resulting in a 5 percent decrease in number of registered vessels between 2005 and 2010.
Aquaculture has been the fastest-growing fishery sub-sector in Greece and is viewed as one of the major activities with hope for recovery of national economy. Farmed fish production exceeded wild catch since the beginning of the new millenium. From 1990 to 2000, aquaculture production increased by nine times to reach more than 95 000 tonnes but the growth rate has declined since 2000. In 2013, aquaculture production was estimated at 144 500 tonnes, mainly consisting of gilthead seabream (73 300 tonnes), European seabass (48 600 tonnes) and Mediterranean mussel (17 500 tonnes). Rainbow trout and European eel are the two most important species in inland aquaculture, accounting for less than 2 percent of the total production. Greece produced 65 percent of the European seabass and gilthead seabream farmed by all EU countries in 2012. Greek fish farmers are starting to experiment with species such as Atlantic bluefin tuna, seabreams and dentex.
The aquaculture sector in Greece provides direct and indirect employment to 4 310 people in 2011, often in remote rural areas with few other forms of employment. Approximately 80 percent of Greek aquaculture production is exported, mainly to Italy and Spain. The average size of aquaculture companies has increased during the 2000s due to merging or acquisitions by large companies.
Per capita consumption of fish and fishery products was about 19.6 kg (2010). In 2013, imports of fish and fishery products were valued at USD 635 million. The main suppliers of seafood to Greece were Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. Exports were worth USD 743 million, with Italy as main market, followed by Spain, France and the Netherlands. In 2012, there are about 11 000 fishers directly employed in marine fisheries.
Fisheries are under the aegis of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries. Research is carried out by the National Centre for Marine Research in Athens and its branch in Crete specifically focusing on aquaculture, nutrition and fish diseases.
The main objectives of the Operational Programme “Fisheries and Maritime 2014-2020” with support from European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, aim at enhancing the competiveness of aquaculture and processing sectors, the viability of sea fisheries sector and the sustainable development of traditionally fisheries dependent areas. The Programme also addresses the need for protection and rehabilitation of the marine environment and its living resources, the control of fisheries activities, the collection of fisheries data and the improvement of knowledge on the state of the marine environment.
The existing fishing ports infrastructure is generally inadequate, especially in the smaller ports where the absence of landing and auction facilities results in parallel trade of fishery products that are not recorded. The increase in the vessels’ operational costs has led to the employment of foreign and cheaper crews, mainly from Egypt.
In addition to EU fisheries management measures, Greece has adopted several national measures for managing fishing effort. These are applied either to the whole of the country or locally and include minimum landing sizes, fishing vessel and fishing gear restrictions, seasonal and area closures of fisheries, spatial and depth restrictions. Fisheries for large pelagics, such as Atlantic bluefin tuna, albacore and swordfish, are regulated through the issuing of special annual permits.
Greece has been a Party to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea since July 1995. On 19 December 2003 (along with all other EU countries) Greece became a Party to the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement. Through the European Union, Greece is a Party to the 1993 FAO Compliance Agreement (accepted August 1996) and the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing (approved 22 November 2009).
General geographic and economic indicators
Table 1 - General Geographic and Economic Data - The Hellenic Republic
Source: FAO Country Profile
FAO Fisheries statisticsTable 2 in this section is based on statistics prepared by the FAO Fishery Information, Data and Statistics Unit and disseminated in 2016. The charts are based on the same source but these are automatically updated every year with the most recent statistics.
Table 2 – Employment and Fleet Statistics – The Hellenic Republic
Please Note:Fishery statistical data here presented exclude the production for marine mammals, crocodiles, corals, sponges, pearls, mother-of-pearl and aquatic plants.
Updated 2007⇧The Profile
This country profile provides statistics and indicators produced through FAO’s Statistics programmes, supplemented with information derived from national and other sources and valid at the time of compilation.
Full text of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Country Profile available at ftp://ftp.fao.org/FI/DOCUMENT/fcp/en/FI_CP_GR.pdf
FAO Thematic data bases