Threat of extinction for the sea urchins in Crete Everything you want to ask, read or write about Sfakia, southwest Crete, or Crete island in general.

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Threat of extinction for the sea urchins in Crete

by Erno » 08 May 2019, 10:36

Threat of extinction for the sea urchins in Crete - 8 May, 2019


The sea urchin [αχινóς , ] tends to become extinct in Crete, since overfishing of previous years has greatly reduced its populations. It is characteristic that this year only a permit for professional catching of sea urchins has been given by the Department of Fisheries of the Hellenic Republic in Chania, but at the same time it is found that the illegal fishing of the sea urchins is getting worse.

Based on the legislation, fishing is permitted only in the months: January, February, March, July, August and December and is prohibited throughout the other months.
"To fish for sea urchins professional, you must have a special fishing permit for sailing and then you can fish up to 600 sea urchins a day. An amateur with a boat can fish up to 30 sea urchins, and amateur again without a boat up to 20 a day, always for private consumption and not for sale", explains Lina Aenezaki, Head of the Fishing Department of DAKK.

On average in the last few years, in Chania are given 2-3 professional fishing permits for sea urchins. The small number of business permits has to do with the large decline in previous years of the sea urchin populations.

"There is no interest in professional fishing by boat, as there are no big enough populations in Crete. The bigger quantities of sea urchins served in the taverns come from the rest of Greece and come packaged, processed", notes Ms. Aenezaki.

She explains that the Department of Fisheries 20 years ago, watching the overfishing of the sea urchins in Crete, had asked the Ministry in writing to take action. The measures were taken with ... a very long delay. "We had a timely conclusion that the consumption of sea urchins had begun to become a nutritional "fashion" in Crete and there was a great demand. We have asked the Ministry to proceed with legislation, but this was done with a very long delay", explains the head of the department.

At the same time, however, the interest in professional fishing for sea urchins is non-existent, but there is an outbreak of illegal amateur fishing. A professional fisherman noted that "although the populations in Crete are small there are still teams of individuals of 2-3 people together who go to places they know and are difficult to access and collect illegally large quantities of sea urchins. The motivation is the profit as they have customers, mainly taverns, that give them a very high price for it and we see a saucer at a restaurant in Chania costing between 10 and 14 euros".

Problem with the seaweed salad

Overfishing is also seen in the seaweed salad, a dish lately ordered by consumers.

And there is no legal protection for the seaweed salad. The Department of Fisheries has asked the competent Ministry to initiate the procedure to protect the "salad of the sea" that grows on rocky coasts.

From: ... tin-kriti/

Sea urchins in Crete are famous, as they are considered a aphrodisiac. Very seldomly you can eat them in Sfakia, off-menu, offered by the owner to respected guests of a taverna, as a top dish at the end of their dinner, the start of a restless night.
All the best,


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