Turkey’s fishing season ends

Turkey’s fishing season ends

Turkey’s fishing season ends

Turkey’s fishing season closed on April 15 with a countrywide ban effective until Sept. 1, but some fishermen around the Black Sea ended their activities even earlier this year due to the threat from floating naval mines.

The ban is introduced in order to allow fish to lay their eggs. However, smaller vessels engaged in coastal fishing are not subject to the ban. The new season for fishermen in the Mediterranean Sea will resume later on Sept. 15.

“The catch was good this season compared to last year. There was no mucilage in the sea,” said Mert Ayan, the head of the Rumeli Kavağı Fisheries Cooperative in Istanbul.

However, he added that some fishermen ended the season 15 days earlier than usual due to the threats from drifting naval mines.

“Some of them did not even set sail at all because they felt uneasy,” Ayan said.

After the war broke out between Russia and Ukraine, at least three stray naval mines have been detected off the coast of Turkey in the Black Sea since March 26, which the Turkish military defused.

“We fish in the Black Sea but have not encountered any mines. Night fishing was banned after the mines were spotted,” Mehmet Arslan said. But, he added that their costs, especially the fuel costs, were much higher.

Last month, fish prices increased in Istanbul somewhere between 25 to 30 Turkish Liras ($1.4 to $1.7) as the naval authorities banned fishing in and around the Bosphorus.

With the fishing season over now, there won’t be enough fish, especially fresh fish, on the stalls, which means prices will go up, said İhsan Arslan, who works at a fish restaurant.

“There will be fewer bluefish, mackerel and anchovy. Presently, we offer anchovy for 50 liras, but after the ban, it will be around 60 to 70 liras,” Arslan said.

Authorities in 2021 conducted more than 193,000 inspections to prevent illegal fishing and seized 61,000 tons of products, the Agriculture and Forestry said in a statement on April 14, reminding that fishermen who want to continue their operations during the four-and-a-half-month ban need to apply to the ministry.

During those inspections, some 7,000 people were fined a total of 27.6 million liras, the statement added.

Some 18,500 vessels engaged in fishing in the seas and inland waters in Turkey in 2020, according to the data from the ministry. Most of them - 11,100 vessels - were between 5 and 7.9 meters in size.

Around 300,000 tons of fish were caught in Turkey in 2020, while the fish consumption is roughly 5 kilograms per person, the lowest in Europe.