Turkiye: Black Sea fishermen wrap up season ahead of time

Fishermen in the Black Sea Region have ceased their activities more than 20 days prior to the onset of the fishing ban, citing inadequate fish sizes as the primary reason.

Casting their nets into the azure waters on Sept. 1, 2023, fishermen in the country’s north opted to halt fishing before the season’s natural end and started to prepare their vessels for the next season.

Pointing out insufficient fish sizes and a scarcity of the highly consumed bonito as reasons for the premature conclusion of the season, the fishermen will pull their boats into port before the fishing ban starting on April 15. They began the process of maintenance and repair, meticulously tending to their nets and vessels for the next six months in anticipation of the upcoming season.

A fishing ban is imposed every year between April 15 – Sept. 1 to preserve fish eggs and ensure sustainable fish farming.

The head of a local cooperative emphasized that the early closure of the season in the northern region was a collaborative effort with fishermen to uphold sustainable fishing practices as the fish population did not meet the required size for harvesting.

“Authorities in the fishing industry urge us to exercise self-regulation even during the fishing season. In compliance with this directive, we opted to conclude the season 25-30 days earlier,”Ünal Karadeniz stated.

This year was the most barren period for bonito fishing in the last 63 years, Karadeniz said, noting a surge in anchovy abundance between September and October last year.

“We commenced anchovy fishing around Oct. 20. The anchovy season lasted for about two months and proved to be quite fruitful. Following the anchovy season, we continued fishing for a while longer, primarily focusing on the Western Black Sea Region, including Sinop, Ereğli and Zonguldak,” Karadeniz noted.

Stating that they cannot make a prediction on the next season due to shifting weather patterns, Karadeniz expressed cautious optimism, emphasizing the importance of favorable weather conditions during the Black Sea bonito’s spawning period for a successful season.

Fisherman Ufuk Büyük indicated that they decided to halt operations due to their belief that fish sizes would not return to normal within 10-15 days, further noting a lack of significant market demand for the caught fish.

Recent news reports highlighted a notable decline in fish sales attributed to the onset of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on March 11, a time traditionally associated with reduced fish consumption due to fasting practices.

Türkiye boasted $1.54 billion in aquaculture product exports during the January-November period of 2023, according to the official data.

Source: hurriyetdailynews

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