Fishermen expect more anchovy, less bonito in upcoming season
ÇANAKKALE / ISTANBUL
The new fishing season in Turkey’s Black, Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean seas is set to cast off on Sept. 1, ending the annual ban on fishing, which started on April 15.
“Our fishermen were satisfied with the last season. We are hopeful for this season [...] We hope our fishermen will have a good season,” Mehmet Özkurnaz, head of the local fisheries cooperative association, told Anadolu Agency.
He projected that fisheries in this region will reel in significantly more bluefish, which is the most profitable for fishermen.
Tuncay Dinç, a fisherman in the province, also said fish prices will fall as of the beginning of the season as more fish are caught and sent to markets.
“Anchovy, bluefish and rough scad [horse mackerel] were so fruitful [in the previous season]; I hope this season will be the same,” Dinç said.
Crew members in Rumeli Lighthouse port on the European side of the Bosporus Strait’s Black Sea entrance have also finished repairing fishing boats and nets to set sail at midnight on Aug. 31.
“We saw a bumper bonito season last year. So, we made profits despite increasing costs. But the bonito will be scarce this year, according to the latest information we have received. We will see a bumper anchovy and scad season instead. The decrease in the amount of bonito will double up its average price,” said fishing boat captain Duru Teker.
Owners of big fishing boats, which cast nets for anchovies rather than bonitos and mackerels, also said they are hopeful for the new season.
“The baby bonito, called vonoz, are not seen in huge numbers in the Black Sea. When they grow up, they turn to bonito [and enter the Bosphorus]. Thus, there will be scarce bonito this year,” said Mesut Girit, who has run a fishing boat for over 40 years.
The 20 crew members are paid around 7,500 Turkish Liras ($1,280) per month, Girit said, adding that smaller boats relying on bonito catches could face a financial burden in the new season due to the lower supply of the fish.
Trolling (catching fish with a large, cone-shaped net) is allowed only 3 or more miles from Turkish coasts and is totally prohibited in the Marmara Sea.
“We sweat to trawl the waters for fish,” said Sevki Deniz, referring to fishing by trailing a line behind a boat. “The scarcity of bonito will affect us badly. I hope the anchovy can save us this year.”
Pollution, climate change and irresponsibly fishing are pointed to as the main factors decreasing the volume of fishing products in the last decades.
“Our seas are alarming. The number of fish is in decline. Immediate measures should be put into effect. This year, there will be almost no bonito. There is anchovy, but it is too small in length. It will take time for it to grow bigger,” said Erdoğan Kartal, head of the aquaculture cooperatives association in Istanbul.