The Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) is a governmental research organisation operating under the supervision of the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT) of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs.
In Greece, the sea has always been a source of interest as well as of resources, ever since ancient Minoan times, as can be seen from the murals and frescoes in Santorini and the palace at Knossos, the recorded teachings of the Ionian Philosophers and the scientific writings of the great philosopher Aristotle.
This interest has remained alive and fresh to this very day.Â
Very soon after its establishment, the first studies in fisheries and marine biology commenced in 1915. By 1948 the station was given a new name, the Laboratory of Fisheries Studies and came under the direction of the Ministry of Agriculture.
In 1945, after the Second World War, the Hellenic Hydrobiological Institute of the Academy of Athens was founded in Piraeus, incorporating the Hydrobiological Station in Rhodes (Reale Istituto di Ricerche Biologiche) which had been set up by the Italians during their occupation of the Dodecanese. In the same year the small vessel GLAUKI was refitted as a research vessel and in 1946 the three first Greek oceanographic cruises were carried out. However, in 1948 the R/V GLAUKI was replaced by the R/V HALCYON.
In 1965 the Hydrobiological Institute of the Academy of Athens was amalgamated with the Laboratory of Fisheries Studies, forming a new body, the Institute of Oceanographic and Fisheries Research (IOFR), which became fully functional in 1970. Fifteen years later, in 1985, as a result of new research legislation (law 1514), the National Centre for Marine Research (NCMR) was established. The latter organisation had evolved from the previous one (IOFR) although it was now a public sector organisation under the jurisdiction of the General Secretariat of Research and Technology, part of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Technology (now the Ministry of Development). The NCMR thus became the main vehicle of marine research in Greece.