Fishing in Greece is a popular pastime, with opportunities for fishing from the shore or boat, with a flat line or fly, or spear fishing in the Mediterranean waters. A wide range of fish is available, including tuna, octopus, John Dory, comber, mullet and bream.
Almost all fishing is done in the sea. However, there are some freshwater and even fly fishing opportunities in the far north of the country.
Poaching is not uncommon in Greece; the fact that someone is fishing somewhere is not a reliable indication that it is legal.
No licence is needed to fish from the shore. This can be done with either a rod or a handheld line from a beach or from a harbour or walkway. Greek fishers tend to be respectful of swimmers and, in general, fishing from a beach is practiced late in the evening, or even at night, when there are few people in the water.
A fishing licence is needed in Greece to fish from a boat or with a spear or harpoon. Licences are obtained from local port authorities or the local coast guard office and are valid for two years. These offices can be found in all ports. The licence is relatively quick to secure and can be obtained in as little as 15 minutes.
Note: Licences are not available to non-EU citizens.
Applicants will need:
Licence holders must also hold a booklet on fishing that is available from the port authorities and which can be picked up when the licence is bought.
Certain smaller islands may be protected or have restrictions in place regarding fishing. Check for signs stating that fishing is prohibited or check with the port authority about local regulations. There are port authority or coast guard offices at virtually every port in Greece.
Freshwater fishing is popular in Greek Macedonia, the Peleponnese and near the city of Ioannina, among other places. There are no clubs for freshwater fishing in Greece. Those who want to fish need to find information and make arrangements themselves.
Generally, no licence is needed to fish with a line or rod in rivers, lakes or reservoirs. Local restrictions may apply. As with fishing in the sea, size restrictions apply for several kinds of fish.
Freshwater fish in Greece include trout, whitefish and catfish.
The main dangers when fishing in Greece apply to those fishing with a spear or harpoon. Safety precautions, such as using a marker buoy, should be followed, as there can be heavy traffic around islands, including jet skis and small boats. Boats and jet skis should remain 100m away from diving buoys, however, this rule is not always respected.
There are many specialised stores in Greece selling fishing equipment, including rods and harpoons. Simple handheld lines are often found in small shops in the harbour; the line is wound around a plastic disc.
It is possible to charter boats for fishing trips in Greece. Information about chartering is available in harbours. It may also be possible to arrange with local fishermen to be taken out to sea. Local fishermen may also be able to supply bait.
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