Theodora Arvanitidou and Alexandros Avramidis,
ASPROVALTA, Greece, July 2 (Reuters) – Panagiotis Pagonis stands on the deck of his fishing boat off Asprovalta in northern Greece, grimacing at another empty catch. “It’s all gone to hell,” the 72-year-old mutters as the early glimmer of dawn lights up the waters.
Ten days later, he looks on as the mechanical arm of a bulldozer rips through his vessel, the Katerina, crushing a lifetime of memories. He has been at sea since he was a child. But the scrap yard takes just minutes.
Hundreds of fishermen like him are turning in their boats and their licenses, partly because catches are down, partly because the EU and the Greek government are offering them cash to leave the trade, under a scheme to protect fish stocks.