Replaces: Arabic version (2005), Spanish version (2005), French version (2005), Chinese version (2005)
Aquaculture with a relatively short history in Turkey began with the farming of rainbow trout (Onchorhynchus mykiss) and common carp (Cyprinus carpio) in the late 1960s and developed further with gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) and European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) culture in the mid-1980s. Production of the three major species, namely rainbow trout, seabass and seabream increased rapidly during the 1990s with production now reaching 158 000 tonnes/year in 2009 of rainbow trout, seabass, seabream, mussel, common carp and other species, produced in 1 855 farms.
Currently, the aquaculture share of total fishery production is around 25 percent by volume (158 724 tonnes of 623 192 tonnes total production) and around 53 percent by value (USD 670 million out of a total of USD 1 260 million USD). The majority of production (about 98 percent) comes from intensive farming systems; rainbow trout is mainly consumed locally, while around 75 percent of seabass and the seabream are exported to EU countries. Almost all of the aquaculture products are sold as whole fresh fish.
The institutional framework for aquaculture development is well-established under the authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA). The sector is regulated through licensing, health and environmental regulations. The primary law concerned with the regulation of aquaculture is the Fisheries Law Act No. 1380 of 1971 and Aquaculture Regulation No. 25507 of 24 June 2004.
Recently, the Aquaculture Producer's Association has been founded and has begun to provide valuable assistance towards aquaculture development. Currently, the country has a significant know-how and research capacity, although an improved overall coordination of such activities is still required. The Government of Turkey has recently issued a decree requiring the compulsory employment of technical staff in aquaculture enterprises above a specified size. The current rate of development of the Turkish aquaculture sector is expected to continue; public support, fish demand and relatively cheap labour are the sectors major strengths, while poor species and product diversity, resource use conflicts, water availability and increasing environmental and animal welfare issues are limiting factors.
The history of aquaculture in the Mediterranean goes back to a few centuries ago with a form of extensive aquaculture known locally as 'lagoon fisheries', practised in the Mediterranean lagoons of Turkey. Modern aquaculture began in the late 1960s; initially, the first species cultured was the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) from eyed eggs imported from Italy. Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) farming followed during the 1970s, but little development happened until 1985 which marked the beginning of gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) and European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) farming. The next major developments were commercial mariculture trials with rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in the Black Sea during the early 1990s; only one experiment failed with kuruma prawn (Penaeus japonicus) on the Mediterranean coast and later mussels in the northern Aegean and the Sea of Marmara during the 1990s were introduced into the aquaculture activities. The Atlantic salmon farming initiative in the Black Sea failed, but rainbow trout mariculture is still practiced.
Production of the three major species, namely rainbow trout, seabass and seabream increased rapidly during the 1990s, with efforts having been given to the development of new species, such as the Black Sea turbot (Scophthalmus maeoticus) and some Mediterranean species such as sharpsnout seabream (Diplodus puntazzo), common seabream (Pagrus pagrus), common dentex (Dentex dentex) and groupers (Epinephelus spp.). Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) fattening, which started at the turn of the millennium has been the latest development in terms of species diversity.
Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing industries in Turkey having grown in volume by over 20 percent for the past ten years. During the 1990s, production from three major species, rainbow trout, seabass and seabream increased rapidly until 2000 and then declined during the following two years, due to a serious overall economic crisis faced by the country which has continued to increase in the last couple of years.
Currently, Turkey has a significant level of know-how in the form of qualified manpower which is relatively cheap. There are 17 fisheries faculties and five departments in the agriculture faculties providing undergraduate and graduate education in fisheries (including aquaculture) and aquatic sciences. Annually, over 300 students graduate from these institutions, however the numbers employed by the sector are still low and those who are employed are mainly in the marine aquaculture sector.
In spite of modernization in farming systems, the labour requirement is still high, mainly due to the low cost of labour. However, since a comprehensive data collection system has not yet been established, the exact number of employees working in the Turkish aquaculture sector is not known. It is estimated that more than 12 000 employees work in the sector and related activities; the secondary support services, namely feed, equipment and consultancy are also developing rapidly and provide job opportunities.
Aquaculture is dominated by finfish production; shellfish culture is represented just by 89 tonnes/year of mussel culture. For many years the sector was dominated by freshwater farmed trout, but in the last few years the contribution of freshwater and marine fish species to overall aquaculture production has reached similar levels, with 77 000 tonnes for freshwater and 76 000 tonnes for marine production. Trout farms are widely spread across the country in freshwater and marine environment, while most seabream and seabass farms are located on the southern Aegean coast which provides optimum ecological conditions for marine aquaculture. Approximately, 95 percent (71 546 tonnes out of a total of 74 916 tonnes) of the total seabass and seabream production currently come from the Aegean region accounting for 47 percent of the total Turkish aquaculture production. The Mugla region provides 39 percent of the total production and is popular not only for seabream and seabass but also for rainbow trout (TUIK, 2009).
The Black Sea region also makes an important contribution, with around 24 percent of the total production followed by the Marmara Sea, the Mediterranean and the Central Anatolian regions. Rainbow trout is the main species cultured in this Central Anatolian region and is farmed in both land-based raceways and sea cages, followed by seabass and common carp. The Black Sea also provides a good ecological supply for trout culture in marine environment thanks to low salinity.
The majority of aquaculture support services (feed plants, equipment providers/distributors and consultants) are based in the western part of the country, i.e. along the Aegean coast and around Istanbul. There are 15 fish feed manufacturers with an annual production of over 40 000 tonnes; a third of these plants produce only aquaculture feed and, in addition, some of the major European aquaculture feed producers have distribution agencies in the country.
Rainbow trout, seabream and seabass account for 95 percent of the country’s aquaculture production. The rainbow trout (Onchorhychus mykiss) has been cultured since the early 1970s and Turkey has become one of the top trout producing countries in Europe with an annual production of 75 567 tonnes, or 47 percent of the country's total aquaculture production. With the surprising appropriate ecological supply for trout culture in the marine environment thanks to low salinity the Black Sea has an enourmous potential. Today there are more than 1 000 freshwater and 20 sea-based farms which are situated in the Black Sea (Table 1). Approximately, half of the farms have an annual capacity of less than 10 tonnes with the rest producing usually less than 50 tonnes. The great majority of the farms (approx. 80 percent) are family-owned with almost two thirds of the production coming from the Black Sea, Aegean and Marmara regions; one third of the country's trout farms are located in the Central Anatolian region.
Apart from marine and some freshwater cage farms, the majority of the trout farms employ small concrete raceways mainly using stream waters. In the past ten years, trout cage culture in dams has reached a very important level of production. Today, 26 000 tonnes of trout production comes from cage culture at dam lakes. Over 50 percent of the farms have their own hatcheries with eggs being produced during the natural breeding season, i.e. between December and February. Ongrowing in raceways lasts between 12 and 24 months. The majority of fish are sold locally as portion size white trout. In the Black Sea fish are reared in cages up to 0.5–1.5 kg and sold as "salmon".
As in other Mediterranean countries, the farming of gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) and European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) has been quite a success and production has increased to 74 916 tonnes at 309 farms in 2009. In the last decade, some new species have been introduced to the aquaculture sector. Some of them are reared for commercial aid such as Black Sea trout, Red Seabream, common dentex, white grouper and sharpsnout bream, etc.Some farms are operating multi-species production like seabass/seabream, seabass/trout or sea bass/seabream/trout.
The Table shows just marine aquaculture farms combination by species.
There are 19 hatcheries producing a total of about 460 million fry per annum at the end of 2009, however, half of these hatcheries may not be active every year. Fry are stocked in ongrowing units during late spring and the growth period lasts around 16–18 months in the Aegean Sea and an extra summer in the Black Sea. Fish are harvested during the summer and autumn months and marketed as whole fresh fish.
Table 1. Number of marine fish farm, capacities and production in 2009.
Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is recorded as being cultured in 86 farms, however production has hardly exceeded 1 000 tonnes in recent years. At present, Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) is the only shellfish species farmed in the Aegean Sea and the Dardanelles. There are 4–6 tuna (Thunnus thynnus) farms producing around 1 000–3 000 tonnes, but these have not been included in the aquaculture production figures. Similarly, salmonid species such as brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) are produced in some trout farms. Black sea turbot (Scophthalmus maeoticus) has been successfully produced at an experimental level in the Black Sea. The culture of other species has also been experimented within recent years to help diversify aquaculture production; species have included Puntazzo puntazzo, Pagrus pagrus, Dentex dentex and Epinephelus spp.
The most widely used intensive system for seabream and seabass is floating cages. These can be squares measuring from 5x5x5 m or circular, hexagonal or octagon shaped cages up to 12–50 m in diameter. More recently, marine farms have been relocating towards more exposed areas or secondary bays and thus, types and sizes of the cage systems used are changing. There are also seabass and seabream farms which utilize earthen ponds and only one high-tech (recirculation) land-based farm. Semi-intensive culture has also been practiced in some lagoons using large sized earth ponds. Large 50–75 m diameter cages are used for tuna fattening.
Aquaculture production for the three main finfish species increased rapidly during the 1990s, but decreased again during 2001 and 2002 before recovering in 2003 to reach 79 943 tonnes from 1 659 farms (Tables 2 and 3). In 2009, about 48 percent of aquaculture production came from trout culture, with about 29 percent from seabass and 18 percent from seabream with the rest being made up of mussel and common carp and other new species totalling 158 749 tonnes. The production of fattened tuna, around 1 000–3 000 tonnes, is not included in the aquaculture production figures.
Currently the aquaculture share of total fishery production is around 25 percent by volume (158 724 tonnes of 623 192 tonnes total production) and around 53 by value (USD 670 million of USD 1 260 million total). The majority of production (about 98 percent) comes from intensive farming systems; rainbow trout is mainly consumed locally, while around 75 percent of European seabass and the gilthead seabream are exported to European Union countries. Almost all the aquaculture products are marketed as whole fresh fish.
Table 2. Number fish farms, farm capacities and production in 2009
Table 3. Annual aquaculture production in the past decade in Turkey by species and year (tonnes)
The graph below shows total aquaculture production in Turkey according to FAO statistics:
The per capita consumption of fishery products in Turkey is around 7 kg, although this figure is declining steadily (TUIK, 2004). Cultured fish products constitute only around 10 percent of the total domestic fish consumption, which is quite low in comparison to global and European average figures and also compared to Turkey's availability of aquatic resources. As a result, the Turkish Government has shown a clear intention to increase the per capita fish consumption by increasing the production in the aquaculture sector which seems to be the only option for achieving this increase, rather than limiting options available to increase fishery production.
Appreciation and acceptance of cultured fish species is improving through a series of efforts by relevant government organizations and producers, however, there is an urgent need to improve the distribution infrastructure throughout the whole production chain. In addition, consumption of shellfish and cyprinid fish is low, due to a cultural preference, as well as, a perception of low quality affecting their appreciation among the consumers.
Rainbow trout is consumed almost entirely on the domestic market, while the Mediterranean marine species are exported across southern European countries. Fish are mainly sold as whole fresh and only negligible amounts of farmed fish products are imported into Turkey. In general, market prices, and as a result, profit margins, for all species are declining particularly at the wholesale level.
Trout depends completely on the domestic and in particular local markets. Fish produced from freshwater farms are marketed as portion-size fish, while those produced in sea cages are sold as "salmon" as a result of their larger sizes. No pigmentation has been used in Turkish trout farming, as a result, all trout produced are white fleshed. Similarly, it is rare to find value-added products such as filleted, smoked or frozen trout. Fish reared in freshwater farms are marketed during summer months, while fish grown in sea cages are either sold just before the summer or else they are transferred to freshwater farms. Fish are harvested daily and marketed as fresh product usually directly by the farmers to restaurants, hotels and factory catering services. Many farms have their own restaurants at or close to the farm. Trouts are also sold through major wholesale markets in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, farm-gate retail prices in the Black Sea region varied between 2.5–3.0 EUR/kg, while the average wholesale price ranged around 2.0–2.2 EUR/kg.
The majority (approx. 80 percent) of the seabass and seabream production is exported to European countries, namely Italy, France, Spain and Germany. Despite temporary export bans applied by the European Union (EU) during the late 1990s, currently Turkey has no particular issues as a result of special agreements and alignment with EU quality standards. Prices have suffered recently due to an economic crisis and market saturation in Turkey with the average farm-gate price in 2004/2005 between EUR 3.5–4.0/kg.
Fisheries represent about 0.3 percent of Turkey's GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and 2.7 percent of the country's total agricultural production. Aquaculture represents 13.5 percent of the total production from the fishery sector by volume and approximately 25 percent by value. The contribution from the fisheries sector and particularly aquaculture to the national economy is not considered significant in financial terms. Fish is not an everyday food, but has great significance in coastal regions and restaurants serving local foods and fish.
Aquaculture has contributed significantly to rural development and will continue to do so in the future. Marine fish farming is mostly operated by large private enterprises with local communities rarely being involved; on the contrary, trout farming is distributed across the country and constitutes a valuable tool for the promotion of rural economic development. Although farmed fish are not a cheap food source, aquaculture can provide a supply of fresh fish in areas where normally no other fishery products would be available. Even in coastal regions and large cities farmed fish are the only seafood products that can be found in the markets during the late spring and the summer months.
Little concern has so far been shown regarding the social aspects of aquaculture development as the contribution of aquaculture towards food security and poverty alleviation has also been rather limited. Instead aquaculture is mainly aimed at the production of luxury food fish products and source of income.
Currently, aquaculture has no involvement in recreational fishery activities or restocking/ranching operations; however, these may become major development issues in the near future. Aquaculture and related services provide considerable employment opportunities both for local young people and graduates.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) is the main state organization responsible for fisheries and aquaculture administration, regulation, protection, promotion and technical assistance through four general directorates: the General Directorate of Agricultural Production and Development (GDAPD), the General Directorate of Agricultural Research (GDAR), the General Directorate of Protection and Control (GDPC) and the General Directorate of Organisation and Support (GDOS).
Production, development and management of aquaculture and inland fisheries activities are implemented by GDAPD, while GDAR is responsible for research and GDPC for movements of live fish, diseases and fish as food issues. MARA has provincial directorates in 81 provinces responsible for implementing policies issued by its central office in Ankara. Most of the licensing and monitoring/control activities are carried out by these provincial directorates.
The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) plays an important role in supporting high priority research projects, while the State Planning Organization has responsibility for the preparation of the Government's long-term development plans (5-year periods), annual programmes and coordination of the activities of various ministries and public institutions. Fisheries production data is gathered and evaluated by the State Statistics Institute in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. A number of public institutions are also involved in the licensing process including the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Navigation and Oceanography Department, the Under-Secretariat of Maritime Issues and the General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSI).
All fisheries and aquaculture activities are regulated by the Fisheries Law No. 1380, enacted in 1971 and amended by the Fisheries Law No. 3288 of 1986. Aquaculture is regulated through licensing, as well as, health and environmental regulations. More recently, the Aquaculture Regulation No. 25507 of 24 June 2004 came into force which addresses major issues related to the sector. Specific issues are regulated through ministerial decrees.
Article 13 of the Fisheries Law states that farmers are obliged to apply to Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) by informing the Ministry about the location, characteristics and management of the facilities, and submit the enterprise’s project and plans. Permission is issued by MARA if there are no adverse effects, in terms of public health, the national economy, navigation or science and technology (Gozgozoglu, 2007).
The provisions of the last paragraph of Article 4 of the Fisheries Law 1380 are also applicable for production units to be established in the sea and inland waters. According to Article 13 of the Fisheries Law, the procedures and principles related to aquaculture are determined by the Aquaculture Regulation, which was issued in 2004. This regulation was amended in 2007 and 2009 and adds fish welfare issues.
This regulation covers and sets out rules for the following issues:
Entrepreneurs or applicants need to submit their applications either to the central office (Aquaculture Department of DGAPD in Ankara) or Provincial Directorates of MARA with all the relevant supporting documentation - for example a written application with species, capacity and production system clearly mentioned and a map of the area.
Applications for trout, carp, seabass and seabream on growing farms and hatcheries, for these species up to two million fry/year capacity can be submitted to the Provincial Directorates, whilst applicants for other on growing species (namely turbot, sturgeon, eel, algae, mollusks and crustacean species) and trout, carp and seabass/seabream hatcheries with a annual capacity of more than two million have to apply directly to the Aquaculture Department in Ankara. A team of experts from the central or provincial office then visits the site and prepares a preliminary survey report. If the report is positive, a preliminary license is issued for eight months and can be extended up to four months. Supporting documentation submitted for the preliminary license must include an application letter, site map, the preliminary survey report and a water quality report. According to the current Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) legislation, those fish farms with an annual capacity of less than 30 tonnes do not require an EIA. Fish farms may require an EIA and this is decided by the EIA commissions in each province which have between 30-1 000 tonnes annual capacities. Farms must submit an EIA report if they produce over 1 000 tonnes per annum.
The entrepreneur prepares the full project documentation, which includes a farm or hatchery design and feasibility report and an EIA report. Approval is also needed from other related institutions dependent on the nature of the project. If the project is approved, the license is issued and is issued with a ‘Producer Certificate’; this usually takes about 1 year. The rental contract period for marine cages sites is a maximum of 15 years and the contract can be terminated earlier by the government.
Currently, Turkey has a significant know-how and research capacity, although it is not particularly well organized. Research and development activities are mainly performed by relevant faculties and departments of universities and research institutes, as well as, by the Production and Development Centre within MARA.
There are four research institutes associated with the Ministry, responsible for research and monitoring of fisheries, aquaculture and other aquatic issues. The Central Fisheries Institute is based in Trabzon on the north-eastern Black Sea coast of Turkey and is responsible for fishery, aquaculture and other aquatic research activities from Istanbul to the Georgian border including the Sea of Marmara and inland waters. The Institute has both trout and marine (turbot) hatcheries and grow-out facilities; this marine hatchery has been built as a part of Turkish-Japanese bilateral cooperation activities aiming to develop turbot larvae production. The Institute also has projects on developing sea trout and sturgeon farming and ranching.
A second institute was founded in 2004 on the Mediterranean coast, used as a marine aquaculture production and development centre founded in the late 1980s as part of a FAO project. The other two institutes concentrate mainly on inland fisheries with a small amount of aquaculture research; one is based in Egirdir-Isparta in the lakes region of south-western Turkey, while the other is situated in Elazig in the south-eastern part of the country where most of the hydroelectric dams are located. In addition, a Fisheries Production and Development Centre is based in Antalya dealing mainly with common carp juvenile production and restocking activities. This Centre also produces rainbow trout eggs and fry, as well as, ornamental fish.
Universities and in particular their fisheries faculties and departments, undertake aquaculture research projects as part of their M.Sc. and Ph.D. degree programmes. There are 13 fisheries faculties and five departments at agriculture faculties providing undergraduate and graduate education in fisheries (including aquaculture) and aquatic sciences, in addition there are number of fisheries programmes in vocational high schools. These fisheries faculties are mostly based in coastal areas while agriculture departments and vocational high schools tend to be inland. Fisheries and aquaculture related subjects are intensively covered within fisheries faculties, each year between 30–40 students graduate from each of these faculties. The Government of Turkey has just issued a decree imposing the compulsory employment of technical staff in aquaculture enterprises above a certain production capacity.
Training and extension activities are performed by the General Directorate of Agricultural Production and Development (GDAPD) within MARA, with occasional training programmes on aquaculture related subjects also being organized in cooperation with other research institutes or universities. There are also training and extension branches within the provincial directorates of MARA, however, extension services seem to be the weakest link in the support services for aquaculture development and are mostly supplied through farm visits, as well as, local/national radio and television programmes.
Turkey participated in the EU Sixth Framework Program (FP6) and is active in other international programmes such as Socrates/Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci and the Marie Curie Actions.
Aquaculture production is increasing steadily, except during periods of economic recession and/or crisis. The current development trend in the Turkish aquaculture, certainly seems to be set to continue during the next decade. Production of the three major species, rainbow trout, gilthead seabream and European seabass, is expected to increase rapidly over the next five years as a result of direct premium payments which will be available for the next years coming. In addition, the current low per capita fish consumption, the increasing demand for fish, seasonal and regional availability of fish from capture fisheries, the readily available know-how, public support and relatively cheap labour are all major strengths of the aquaculture sector.
In contrast, the limited number of farmed species, product diversity, conflicts for resources, increasing environmental and animal welfare issues, utilization of manpower, organization of research and development activities, dissemination of research results, lack of functional producer associations and public institutions seems to be the major constraints for the development of an environmentally sound and economically viable aquaculture sector. Thus, further emphasis not only on production, but also on environmental sustainability, food safety and industry competitiveness will be required.
Developmental trends have been and will continue to be affected by the overall economic development in the country. The best example of this is the general economic crisis the country experienced in 2001. Prior to such crisis, aquaculture production reached 80 000 tonnes (2000), but then dropped to around 60 000 tonnes during 2002 (Table 2).
There has been a trend towards an increasing production capacity and the enlargement of the existing farms (particularly trout farms). MARA has been encouraging the establishment of larger marine (≥250 tonnes/year) and freshwater (≥25 tonnes/year) cage farms. It is hoped that this will assist in maximizing the economic benefits of individual enterprises while reducing the risk of conflict of interest with other coastal zone users.
Aquaculture rather young sector comparatively agriculture and livestock, its legislations and technical guidelines are changed and updated by the reason of providing progress and meeting with the implementation difficulties.
Problems have been mainly occurred in marine aquaculture at Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, which were already established most of seabass and seabream farms, with other sectors which are very noteworthy for tourism, environmental protection, maritime, recreation etc.
First commercial marine aquaculture was started with seabream and seabass in closed and sheltered bays by using traditional, small size wooden cages in Mugla City in Turkey in 1985.
Marine aquaculture zones were determined by MARA along the all coastlines in 1988 and were provided moving of sea farms in these zones. However, current allocated zones had been started deficient for new applications because of rapid developments of culture technique; cage-made, fish feed technology. Therefore, studies on determination of potential aquaculture zones were reviewed by order of 1993, 1998, 2000 and 2008 because of the circumstances of aquaculture which were developed and alternated.
After new Environmental Law come into force, new aquaculture zones were determined once again with consensus of all related institutions according to the Environmental Law and Notification on Defining Sensitive Enclosed Bays and Gulfs Areas in Coastal Waters where fish farms shall not be set up. After The Environmental Law was put into practice for implementing Articles related fish farms, inshore marine farms were moved to new offshore areas.
Great efforts have also been put into increasing species and product diversity, however, there has been no significant breakthroughs in these issues, at least on a commercial scale. Unless the above mentioned problems are eased it is unlikely that there will be a major change in species composition and production trends.
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