Turkiye’s aquaculture exports are expected to surpass $1.5 billion this year, Forestry and Agriculture Minister Vahit Kirişçi has said.
Export revenues of the sector exceeded $1.4 billion last year, Kirişçi said in a statement,adding that next year’s target is $2 billion.
The local fishery industry has the capacity to supply more than what the country needs, he noted.
Turkish fishermen catch around 1 million tons of fish in international waters and oceans, which is three times higher than their catch in Turkiye’s seas, according to the minister.
Some 70 fishing vessels operate in the territorial waters of foreign countries, mainly in Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau and Georgia, the Agriculture Ministry said in a separate statement, adding that those operations create a business volume between $600 million to $700 million.
Last year aquaculture and fishery production stood at 799,844 tons, it said.
More than 193,000 inspections were carried out to prevent illegal fishing and a total of 27.6 million Türkish Liras of administrative fine was imposed as a result of those checks, according to the ministry.
Around 15 fish species, including turbot, grouper, sturgeon and trout, have been released to aquatic resources in Southeastern Anatolia, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea as part of the restocking efforts, Kirişçi also said.
“Turkiye is one of the few countries restocking such diverse fish species. By the end of 2024, 84 million fish fries will have been released to water resources,” he added, noting that the number of fish to be released will increase to 100 million.
Meanwhile, the Mediterranean Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Exporters’ Association reported that the industry’s exports amounted to $2.18 billion in the January-October period, with sales to foreign markets surpassing $239 million last month alone.
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was the main export destination for the industry, said Ferhat Gürbüz, the president of the association.
“The share of the CIS in total exports was 45 percent, followed by the EU at 33 percent and the Middle Eastern countries at 11 percent,” Gürbüz detailed.
Some 413,000 tons of produce were exported to foreign markets in the 10 months through October, according to Gürbüz.