I might be heading to Greece this summer and am thinking of taking my freediving/spearfishing gear. What are the regulations for freediving/spearfishing in Greece? Are there any differences for non-citizens/non-residents? For completeness sake, I am an EEA national exercising movement rights whilst in Greece.
Shared by Nico Pontomachi* on DeeperBlue.com, described as the largest online community dedicated to freediving, scuba diving and spearfishing.
June 20 2012
Spearfishing licence required:: YES
- During MAY, it is not allowed to spearfish AT ALL.
- Not allowed to spear at night.
- Not allowed to spear with scuba gear, only freedive.
Where is it available: (harbour/ministry/etc.): Local port authorities
Address: Port Authority office
Costs: About 27 euro valid for 2 years
Regulations for foreigners: Same as for locals
Protected species: A number of regulations are described in the booklet you get with the licence in Greece.
Regulations for the large and quantity (per day):: A number of regulations are described in the booklet you get with the licence in Greek Licence. Max 5 kilos per spear, per day, or more than 5 (no limit) if you only hit one HUGE fish.
Restricted areas: Not allowed to spearfish near harbours, must stay away at least 300m from harbour, swimming people, fish nets, fish farms. Must always carry a buoy and dive in a circle smaller than 50 meters from your buoy.
There are two kinds of fishing with a spear:
1) Fishing with a simple spear, non-mechanical, used just with the power of the hand, and
2) Fishing with a spear with a launch mechanism, the so-called harpoon gun.
Both of these ways of fishing are under the provision of the Presidential Decree 373/85 and, for their use, you’ll have to obtain an individual license for amateur fishery for which you can apply to any Port Authority in Greece.
As far as the first method is concerned with a simple spear, you should know that Paragraph 3 of Article 1 and Paragraph E of Article 2 of the Presidential Decree 373/85 are in force, which provide that there are no other restrictions but, if you use a lamp (diffused light without illuminator), it may have power of up to 500 candles, and no more.
As far as the second method is concerned, with a mechanical spear, you need to know that Article 1 of the Presidential Decree 373/85 is in force which provides the following:
- Amateur underwater fishing is forbidden:
a) during the period of May every year
b) right after the sunset until the sunrise
c) for people under 16 years old
d) within a distance 200 metres of:
- i) the point where normally people swim;
- ii) port works or nautical marks or boats or other fishing means, as well as the nets with obvious marks;
- iii) anchored ships.
It is forbidden for amateur underwater fishermen to:
a) to pull off catches from the fishing gears of other fishermen;
b) to continue having their “harpoon guns” armed when they are out of the water or on land;
c) to use any kind of diving gear that provides air from a boat or any kind of autonomous diving gear that provides air. Also, it is forbidden to keep breathing apparatus on board;
d) to use a spear that its own power comes from the spark of explosive or other chemical mixture;
e) to use nets;
f) to catch fishes of a weight less than 150 grams;
g) to use underwater light.
Amateur fishermen, when diving, are obliged to bear a yellow drift buoy, which has a red diagonal flag and the symbol 'Y' (the Greek initial for Underwater Fishing) and which can be seen from a distance 300m. If a vessel accompanies the underwater fisherman, this flag must be on it. The underwater fisherman must be moving in a radius of 50 metres from the sign or the boat.
Finally, according to the Paragraph 2 of Article 2 of Presidential Decree 373/85, amateur fishermen can catch up to 5 kg fishes and no more, no matter the method they used to fish (except if they use nets, when the amounts goes up to 10kg). If one fish has weight over 5 kg itself, then it is permitted. Also, it is forbidden to catch more than one fish of the genus of Epinephelus [Grouper].
It would be useful, when you come to our country, to visit a Port Authority for more information before you go fishing, because there are also regional restrictions as well as restrictions for the size (dimensions) of the fishes.
Fishing licences are issued by local port authorities. Licences cost 26 euros and are valid for two years. The cost to renew the licence is 6 euros.
Greek citizens are required to submit two photographs, a photocopy of their ID card and their tax roll number (AFM). EU citizens need two photographs, an AFM and a photocopy of their passport. Non"EU foreigners are not eligible to apply for a fishing licence.
Applicants under age 18 need signed permission from their parents or guardians.
Avid fishermen and fisherwomen must also obtain a fishing licence booklet from the Greek Social Security Fund for Sailors (NAT). The office is located at 1 Ethnikis Antistasios St in Piraeus.
*Minor format and translation adjustments were made for flow and readability.
Two years ago I got confirmation from a local spearfisher that no license is needed, as this requirement was at the time recently removed.
I got the same message afterwards in an online forum.
My bet is that the text quoted in Dorothy's answer, which I found myself several times, is outdated. I spearfished in Greece and no one asked me anything. Make sure you have a buoy with you and you don't hunt near populated beaches - I assume that is / should be enforced.