Turkey is set to lift a ban on fishing Tuesday, marking the start of the traditional fishing season. Prior to the opening of the season, experts said the fish population at Turkey's seas has increased due to a lack of fishing activities and lower pollution levels during the COVID-19 pandemic. 2020 has so far been disappointing for fishermen, whose businesses came to a halt because of the pandemic before the annual ban officially started on April 15.
As they put the final touches on their repaired nets, fishermen are optimistic about a more prosperous season. "It is good that seas were calmer, more peaceful for the fish. I believe it will be an abundant season, especially for bonito," İbrahim Şen, a fisher in Istanbul, told Demirören News Agency (DHA) on Monday.
Professor Saadet Karakulak, from the Faculty of Maritime Sciences at Istanbul University, says the pandemic dealt a blow to businesses and Turkey saw its fisheries depleted because of pollution and global warming. "Curfews, restrictions may have led to a decline in fishing activities but it gave rise to biodiversity. Lesser maritime traffic means more expansion for fisheries," she said. Professor Mehmet Gökoğlu from the Faculty of Maritime Sciences at Akdeniz University, says young fish found a way to thrive in the Mediterranean Sea because of the pandemic. "The number of young fish has doubled compared to previous years. Apparently, nature cleansed itself in time of the coronavirus," he said. The onset of the pandemic corresponded with the breeding season for many species. In the Mediterranean, experts note an increase in the number of leerfish.
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