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Fish Tales – Episode 5: Hasan from Izmir

Welcome to another episode of Fish Tales. This time, we are in Turkey.

By Cansu Kabakçı & Naïma Crotti

My name is Hasan. I live in Izmir, Turkey. I’m 49 years old and I’ve been a fisherman for over 35 years.”

Being a fisher. Caring for nature.

Fishing is more than a job for me, it’s a lifestyle. I decided to become a fisherman to follow in the footsteps of my father and grandfather; and to keep this tradition alive. It’s part of my family’s heritage.

I feel very lucky, because I enjoy doing my job. I love being at sea and seeing exciting creatures. Once, I even saw a whale!

That’s why it is also important for me to save marine biodiversity. I want my children to be able to see all the beautiful species the ocean has to offer. But sadly, at times, I accidentally catch rays, sharks, seabirds and even endangered species in my fishing net.

When this happens, I take the time to remove the hooks with clippers to set them free, but sometimes it’s too late. This makes me really sad, because I know they only approach our boats to look for easy food to catch. I need to fish and they need to eat.

I try to shout at the seabirds to drive them away from my fishing boat. It works from time to time, but I know it’s not a long term solution.

If you ask me, I don’t know if a solution to bycatch is even possible. But we should try. I would love to work with you to see how we can improve the situation. I also wish we would all start focusing on more sustainable fishing – for our future, for our industry, and for our ocean.

The Med Bycatch Project

Hasan has been working with Doğa (BirdLife in Turkey) to collect information on the impacts fishing has on the marine environment. Scientific observers are going on vessels with fishers and record any catches of vulnerable species. With this information, governments are able to implement more effective management measures to ensure that fishing and marine life can coexist.

Fish Tales is brought to you by the project “Understanding Mediterranean multi-taxa bycatch of vulnerable species and testing mitigation: a collaborative approach” (the Med bycatch project) and is funded by the MAVA Foundation. The project supports Mediterranean countries, and specifically Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey, to implement standardised data collection of multi-taxa bycatch across different fishing gear, together with training, awareness raising, and to identify and test measures to reduce impact of fisheries on vulnerable species including seabirds, sea turtles, marine mammals, and sharks and rays.

The project is carried out by: BirdLife International, ACCOBAMS, GFCM, SPA/RAC, IUCN-Med and MEDASSET. 

Image credits: © Cansu Kabakçı / Doğa Derneği

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