Breaking new ground, the Turkish Coast Guard will join other units to protect the migrating pearl mullets in Lake Van during an annual fishing ban, the governor of the eastern province of Van has said.
“Gendarmerie units will protect the fish at land, the Coast Guard in the lake,” Mehmet Emin Bilmez told Demirören News Agency on March 18.
Pearl mullets that can live in the salty waters of Lake Van leave their habitats at the beginning of April and migrate to streams to reproduce. Officials announce a fishing ban between April 15 and July 15 every year to protect the species.
“Unfortunately, some locals are poaching. Until now, gendarmerie units were fighting against them with the help of police units, but this year, the Coast Guard has joined them,” Bilmez said.
Some six boats will patrol the lake, especially to control the mouths of streams. Besides them, unmanned drones will be used over the lake to catch poachers.
Lake Van is the biggest lake in the country, with its 3,712-square-meter surface.
“The lake is one-third of the Marmara Sea and is one of the most important fishing zones,”said Mustafa Akkuş, an academic from Van Yüzüncü Yıl University.
According to the expert, there are over 100 fishing boats, with some 15,000 people earning a living from pearl mullets.
Congratulating officials for the measures taken to protect pearl mullets, he said, “The presence of the Coast Guard in the fight against the poachers is gladdening,” he said.