Fishermen turn to scientists for answers amid poor catch in Black Sea

Fishermen turn to scientists for answers amid poor catch in Black Sea

SİNOP - Anadolu Agency
Fishermen turn to scientists for answers amid poor catch in Black Sea

Fishermen in Turkey’s Black Sea region are turning to scientists to understand what is causing the sharp decline in fish catches this season.

The fishing season has been a disappointment so far for fishermen in Turkey’s Black Sea region. They complain that the amount of anchovies (hamsi) and bonito they catch this season, which started on Sept. 1, is almost 80 percent lower when compared to previous years. They now want scientists to investigate the reasons behind this year’s poor catches.

Poor catch

“The data for the amount of fish caught during the fishing seasons is usually released after April 15, when the fishing season ends. We do not have the figures for this season yet, but we have already seen a sharp decline in this season’s catches and this is particularly the case for anchovies and bonito,” said the head of the Union of Sinop-Kastamonu Water Products Cooperatives, Ali Bayrak, adding that they want scientists and universities to look into the reasons behind this sharp decline.

“Last season, fishermen would catch 7,000 to 8,000 cases of bonito overnight, but this season they catch far less than this. The case is the same with anchovies. For the first time in years, we only have two months to catch anchovies during the fishing season,” Bayrak added.

The rate of fish catches changes dramatically from year to year and this is not a promising outlook, he said, adding that there must be an explanation for this sharp fluctuation over the years.

Science to rescue

“We had initially anticipated a good anchovies catch for this season, but we are now deeply disappointed with the result. Weather conditions are generally attributed as the reason for the decline in the amount of fishes caught, but we do not think weather could be the only reason. Scientific studies should be carried out to understand the reasons behind these wild fluctuations in fish catches,” Bayrak said.

They plan to team up with the University of Sinop to carry out studies on the decline in the fish population, he also said.

Large fishing vessels have been unable to operate in the region this year due to the low catch rates, and smaller fishing boats try to compensate for the absence of larger vessels, according to Bayrak.

Fishermen continue to catch the so-called bottom fish, such as the haddock, bluefin, red mullet and gar fish to supply enough fish and to make end meets, he said.