Trabzon after the new coastal road

Trabzon after the new coastal road

Wilco van Herpen TRABZON - Hürriyet Daily News
Trabzon after the new coastal road

With the development of the Black Sea coastal road the sea has lost precious meters of its water. Suddenly, the depth of the sea rapidly increased.

Last week I was in the Black Sea province of Trabzon. Every time I go to that part of the Black Sea coast my heart aches. Of course, it is nice to travel fast by car, and the Black Sea coastal highway has, in that sense, been a big improvement, but what has been the toll? Does the advantage of a fast highway outweigh the disadvantages that the new road has brought? Even before the highway was finished the Black Sea started taking back what we had taken from it - during severe storms large parts of the road were flooded by water and some sections of the highway were, through the incredible power of the waves, taken away.

Nowadays, people in the Black Sea region generally complain about two closely related problems: The natural coastline with its beautiful cozy beaches has disappeared, and there is not as much fish as there used to be.

Surprising new landscape

The little characteristic bays full of stones and sand disappeared to become a long, four-lane highway. I remember years ago, it must have been 1994, together with friends I had come by car from Holland to travel around Turkey. Part of our route was the beautiful coastal road along the Black Sea. Wherever we went, there was always a surprising new landscape, another small bay or some nice little beach. We swam, ate mussels prepared on a hot piece of metal that we had put on the fire, and had a good time.

Trabzon after the new coastal road

However, with the development of the Black Sea coastal road the sea was forced back, losing precious meters of its water. Suddenly, the depth of the sea rapidly increased. Just a couple of meters away from the newly created coastline the depth of the water plunged to 30 meters.

This habitat was perfect for a wide variety of fish to lay their eggs, as young fish would be able to survive in the more shallow waters where fishing boats could not go because of the risk of hitting a rock. However, this beautiful ecosystem is gone, and will not come back. Still, something has to be done - if we continue like this the Black Sea area will not even be as we know it nowadays. Too many things are changing in a too short a time.

One of the suggestions I have heard was to take old trawlers and sink them about 30 or 40 meters from the mainland. The ships would thus create a save heaven for young fish and perhaps become a place where fish could lay their eggs.

The small fishing boats would not dare to come close because if their nets got stuck in the sunken boat it would be a very expensive disaster. Losing your nets is the worst thing that can happen to a fisherman.

With the “sunk boat” system you create a “safe haven” of about one square kilometer for the fish. If we sink one old boat every kilometer then at least we would be doing something for the fish and ourselves. It is a win-win situation.

Aside from the benefits for the fish it would also be a unique opportunity for divers to swim and discover a wide variety of fish in the Black Sea.