Fishermen paint bleak picture as prices too high in new season

At the start of the fishing season on Sept. 1, fishermen sailed off into the Sea of Marmara from ports in Istanbuland’s Kumkapi, Sariyer and Rumeli Feneri districts to fill their nets.
However, many people are unable to enjoy fish because of high prices.
When the season kicked off on Sept. 1, fish were abundant and prices were reasonable. However, fishermen who spoke to Sundayand’s Zaman said the situation was worse than it seemed. At Rumeli Feneri, fishermen begin the day early, with many fishing boats waiting for their turn to sail off.
Sundayand’s Zaman went to Rumeli Feneri to understand the reason behind the high prices and found that fishermen are quite unhappy. They complain about a lack of fish in the sea, saying fish have started to migrate to other seas. According to the fishermen, the situation is bad not only in the Sea of Marmara but also in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas.
67-year-old Captain Mustafa is one of those who complain about the lack of fish. and”We did not understand their value, and they are not coming anymore,and” he says while explaining the reasons behind fewer fish. He says the improvement of fishing technology has had a negative impact on fish stocks. and”Fish finding equipment such as sonars and radars gradually led to the extinction of some fish species,and” he says.
According to Captain Mustafa, environmental pollution is another problem. and”If you do not attach importance to the sea, why would fish come? One of the main reasons behind the lack of fish is mistakes in fishing. The method of bottom trawling continues to kill small fish. We have modern fishing organizations but we have difficulty in abiding by the rules.and”
Bottom trawling, which is used to catch marine life that lives on the seafloor such as shrimp, cod, sole and flounder, involves towing a trawl along or close to the sea floor and it is regarded as a destructive fishing technique because it is unselective and severely damages seafloor ecosystems. Everything is trawled, from the targeted fish to centuries-old corals. The Washington-based Marine Conservation Institute says Article 1380 of the Turkish Fishery Law prohibits bottom trawling in Turkish waters however, the penalties for the violation of this law are not enough of a deterrent.
Captain Mustafaand’s neighbor, Captain Remzi says changing weather conditions also have a negative effect on fish stocks. and”The sea water is 18 degrees Celsius. The fish are not gathering,and” he says. According to him, illegal fishing already causes a lack of fish. and”Now they are building hydroelectric power plants (HES) everywhere,and” he says. Experts also say HES plants harm sea life, but they say the negative impact of technological equipment is worse.
Fishermen complain that Turkey does not have a maritime minister even though it is surrounded by three seas and that the fishing industry is handled by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry.
and”Turkey has seas but there is nobody to deal with them. If you approach fishery with smart methods, wonand’t it give you fish? If fishery was dealt with under a separate ministry, everything would be better. But I am not sure whether our lives will be long enough to see this,and” another fisherman, Captain ibrahim says.
h2Fish guide for new seasonh2 Food is fantastic when served fresh, so is fish. Even though it is possible to buy fish in all seasons, fish is most fresh and delicious in winter because, as fishermen say, fish love cold weather.
Fishermen note that Turkish people mostly prefer small fish, including anchovy and horse mackerel. While Turkey is a rich country in terms of fish species, particular attention should be paid to making sure that you find a tasty fish. Bonito tastes best in August and early September other fish will not be as tasty as bonito in September. Larger bonitos are also delicious in the three months after September. Bluefish and horse mackerel are the favorites of October and November. Fish become fat in December because of the cold so all species are edible in this month. Fishermen, however, stress that anchovy should be specifically caught on snowy days, meaning they are particularly good after November. Grey mullet, perch and sea bass are best in March, whereas in April you should look for striped red mullet and red mullet.
h2Eyes are the secreth2 You have to take a look at the gills and eyes of the fish for freshness. The eyes have to be bright and the gills red. However, the shade of red varies. Some species have dark red gills whereas some species have pinkish gills. Some fishermen recognize the species of fish from their scent.
h2Which fish is found where?h2 Turkey is surrounded by sea, but most of us are not familiar with fish species and their natural habitats. Let us note the major fish species in Turkish waters.
Red mullet: They are abundant in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. They measure 17-20 centimeters at most in length only rarely do they reach 40 centimeters. Normal red mullet is distinguishable from striped red mullet by its taller head.
Striped red mullet: They live in the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas.
Gilt head bream: The Aegeanand’s famous fish, gilt head bream, is known for its white belly, dark grey back and pinkish cheeks. The species lives in the northwest area of the Black Sea, the Aegean and the Mediterranean.
Sole: Abundant in the Aegean and Mediterranean. It tastes best between November and February. Its average size is 12 centimeters.
Pilchard: A commercial fish like anchovy, pilchard is abundant in the northern Aegean region and tastes best between July and October.
Mackerel: 30 centimeters in size, mackerel spend the summer in the Black Sea before migrating to the Sea of Marmara in September or October. To be eaten between early September and late January.
Bluefish: Those living in the Black Sea and the Marmara taste good, whereas those found in the South do not taste as nice. They measure between 21 and 30 centimeters in size.
Bonito: It has a striped back and silver belly. Those from the Black Sea and the Marmara taste best after September.
Sea bass: Its sides are white and its bottom parts are silver. Sea bass measure between 20 and 60 centimeters in size.
Horse mackerel: Small toothed, large eyed and lives in the Sea of Marmara, Aegean and Black Sea.
Turbot: Easily recognizable as it is a flat fish. Turbot tastes best from late January to mid-March.
Grey Mullet: Delicious throughout the year except for summer, grey mullet can be found in all seas.
Sword fish: Rarely found in Turkish waters. The fish is recognized by its sword-like silhouette. Best consumed between September and February.
Whiting: Abundant in the Black Sea, but found in other seas as well.


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