Though it is most widely known as either a sport or a hobby, diving for some is how they earn their living.
Divers are essential for the country's fish farms, which have significantly increased in number over the last 10 years in Turkey. The first step for divers working in difficult conditions starts with training, which continues for almost a year and is received from related institutions. To make it a career, it is necessary to pass written and practical exams.
Indispensable for fish farms, divers are also known as "sea farmers."
In İzmir province's Karaburun district, divers arrive at the fish farms early in the morning. Immediately after breakfast, they start their preparations for their day underwater. Donning their wetsuits after checking their tanks and tools, the men dive into the water as teams.
The teams are aware of the risks under the sea and continuously communicate with each other while submerged.
The divers, who stay underwater for up to five hours a day, maintain the holding cages and distribute medicine to the fish.
Their shifts continue after they are out of the water. They clean their equipment themselves and eat their lunch on boats in the middle of the sea.
Setting off for shore at sunset, the "sea farmers" prepare for tomorrow. Working continuously day and night every season, the divers maintain their love for the sea despite the occupation's hazards.
Diver Erol Adıyaman told Anadolu Agency (AA) that he entered the fishing sector through the field of logistics but later decided to be a diver.
Noting working in the sea is a privilege, Adıyaman said: "I have been a diver for nearly nine years. The job has beautiful parts as well as hard ones. The toughest part is the harvest. We sometimes harvest during storms. While everyone else is running away from the sea, we dive into it."
He stressed that he was a bit anxious when he first starting diving and overcame this anxiety over time.
Metin Kaygısız, another diver, explained that he has been working meters under the water to earn his keep for 10 years.
Explaining that his job always interests people and often those he meets ask him a lot of questions, Kaygısız continued: "We dive not only in the morning but at night during harvests. Since our job is live fish, they need extra care. We look after the fish like babies here. It's not a job that you can do without a love for the sea."
Aquaculture engineer Semih Koca, who works at a fish farm, mentioned that there is a demand for experienced divers in the sector.
Remarking that they spend three months during the harvest in the sea, Koca added: "Our need for divers increases in various periods; however, we cannot find divers all the time. Not every diver can do this job. They need to know something about everything. The salary starts at TL 3,500 [$620] and increases to TL 5,000. It totally depends on the individual's experience."
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