Press Releases

Press Release – Researchers, NGOs and fishermen, hand in hand to reduce bycatch in the Mediterranean Sea

12.07.2018

The inception workshop on the bycatch project was organized by Turkish Marine Research Foundation in Taksim, Istanbul, on July 9th 2018. To understand the level of bycatch in the Mediterranean Sea and to test the mitigation measures, field studies will be conducted by Doga Dernegi, DEKAMER, WWF Turkey and TUDAV.

Bycatch is the accidental catch of no-target species in fishing activities. Every year thousands of vulnerable species, such as dolphins, turtles, birds, sharks and rays, are entangled in fishing nets, most of which result in death. It is one of the most serious problems concerning the survival of these species.

To understand the level of bycatch in the Mediterranean Sea and to test the mitigation measures, MAVA Foundation has decided to support the project called « Understanding Mediterranean multi-taxa ‘bycatch’ of vulnerable species and testing mitigation- a collaborative approach » in three project areas, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey, under the leadership of FAO GFCM, in the partnership with Birdlife International, ACCOBAMS, UNEP-MAP, IUCN and MEDASSET. In Turkey  the surveys will be conducted with the collaboration of TUDAV, DEKAMER, Doga Dernegi and WWF Turkey.

One of the partners of the project, ACCOBAMS, is the regional agreement on the conservation of the cetaceans (whales and dolphins) in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. TUDAV has been their partner for more than 10 years. In this framework, an inception workshop for this bycatch project was organized by TUDAV in Taksim, Istanbul, on 9 July 2018. Thirty-six people from universities, NGOs, Coast Guard, and international organizations participated the workshop to discuss how we can achieve the goal of the project.

The bycatch data will be collected by observers sent to fishing vessels as well as interviewing fishermen in selected ports. There will be a training activity, workshops with fishermen, and also testing the possible mitigation measures during fishing activities.

Reducing bycatch is important for sustainable fisheries. Without these vulnerable megafauna, such as turtles and dolphins, our marine ecosystem do not function in a healthy way. We expect to cooperate with fishers for achieving this goal. The project will continue until 2020 when we can share our experience to protect precious marine life in our seas.

Press Release – Bloom of Emiliania huxleyi

A SEASONAL PHYTOPLANKTON BLOOM IMPACTING THE TRANSPERANCY OF THE BLACK, MARMARA AND AEGEAN SEAS

A bloom made by cocolithophore, a phytoplankton species, Emiliania huxleyi this year has made long and significant effects on the Black Sea and the adjascent seas, such as the Marmara and Aegean Sea. This phytoplankton bloom is a natural seasonal phenomenon but this year’s lasts longer

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The satellite images from NASA Worldview are below.

 


Press Release-First Turkish Deep Sea Workshop

FIRST TURKISH DEEP SEA WORKSHOP
19 June 2017, Gökçeada, Turkey

The First National Deep Sea Workshop was held in Gökçeada Island, Turkey, located in the North Aegean Sea, by Marine Biology Department, Faculty of Fisheries, and Istanbul University with the sponsorship of the Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV). Approximately 30 researchers from 11 institutions attended and madesignificant contribution for this workshop.

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On deliberate killing of the Mediterranean Monk Seal in Greece

Statement on the deliberate killing of the Mediterranean Monk Seal Monachus monachus (Hermann, 1779) on the Samos Island, Greece

According to ‘www.samostimes.gr’ on May 24, 2017, a female adult monk seal was found dead in the southwest coast of Samos Island, Greece, on May 21, 2017. Evidences of deliberate killing were found by the researchers of the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation.

Since Mediterranean monk seals are sedentary animals, the individuals can be recognized by the local people. The inhabitants of Samos also nicknamed the monk seal living in their region as “Argiro”. The researchers reported the possibility of the dead individual unfortunately was “Argiro” and stated that in any case, be it a famous or an unknown seal, the murder is equally despicable.

Deliberate killing is one of the main reasons for the decline of the monk seal population. It was reported that a half of the mortalities observed during 1986˗1996 were due to deliberate killing in Turkey. One of the most recent victims was reported in 2013, a seal called “Duman” (which means “Smoke” in Turkish) by local people in Antalya. His assailant has not yet been apprehended. Since Turkey and Greece inhabit the biggest population in the Mediterranean Sea, their responsibilities are huge for the survival of the Mediterranean monk seals and their cooperation is essential. Once again, we assert that guns have no place in fishing boats and demand all guns, firearms and shotguns alike be banned immediately!

These cases show that the state authorities, universities and NGOs should make stronger conservation action plans with common efforts. These plans must include precautions against deliberate killings, rescue plans for stranding animals and awareness raising programs for local people, to be implemented fully throughout all Turkish and Greek coastal areas.

About the Mediterranean monk seal, Monachus monachus (Hermann, 1779)
The Mediterranean monk seal, Monachus monachus (Hermann, 1779), is Europe’s most endangered marine mammal and it is protected by the Barcelona Convention (Fourth protocol species), Bern Convention (Appendix II), Biodiversity Convention (Eligible species), Bonn Convention (Appendix I and II) as well as CITES (Appendix I). M. monachus is also listed in Red List of IUCN as endangered status (IUCN 2016). It is estimated that 350-400 individuals live in the coasts of Turkey and Greece. Fishery interaction is a very common cause for adult monk seals mortality. Fishermen and fish farmers use lights, feeding with pesticide˗injected fish, noise generation, warning and direct shots with rifles and physical exclusion to keep seals away from the cages and nets.
Please report your observations…

Mitigating negative interactions between fishermen and seals and habitat protection are the main conservation priorities for the monk seals. Furthermore, scientific research and monitoring programs together with the public awareness campaigns are vital for the protection of the population.
If you see an individual of the Mediterranean Monk Seal, please send a message (preferably with a photo) to tudav@tudav.org or call TUDAV and help the protection of this iconic animal of the Mediterranean Sea.
Tel: 0216 4240772

Press Release – Our Stolen Future by Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing in the World Ocean

Fishing stocks in world oceans are currently diminishing mainly due to overfishing, pollution, and coastal degradation. Climate change accelerates these damages in some areas. According to the recent FAO report, 80 % of the global fish resources are totally exploited, 18% are moderately exploited and only the rest 2 % are stable. These figures terrify all of us because humankind needs more and more food to support ever-increasing population as we have been dependent on ocean resources very substantially since antiquity.

On top of that, the world oceans have been recently facing another type of human-induced threats: lllegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. Illegal fishing takes place when fishing is operated against law, such as fishing in forbidden areas/seasons, catching protected species of high commercial value as well as undersized fish. Unreported fishing is the fishing unreported or wrongly reported to authorities. Unregulated fishing is normally the fishing with vessels without any nationality or belonging to a country which is not a party to regional fisheries agreement. Thus, IUU fishing combines all these three activities. IUU fishing occurs in both territorial and high seas, carried out by all types of fishing vessel and fishing gear, regardless of size, flag, origin and registration in the oceans and seas all over the world.

It is estimated that minimum 11 million tons of fish is illegally and unreportedly caught annually. This is worth minimum 10 billion USD worldwide. In the developing countries of West Africa, at least 40% of fish caught is illegal with the estimated cost around 1.2 billion USD.

According to CCAMLR (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) report, even around the Antarctic, which is a unique pristine marine ecosystem on the planet, IUU fishing has been spotted. Patagonian toothfish is illegally caught by some nations ignoring the fact that it is an important food for seals, whales, dolphins and many other living creatures. In the Black Sea, sturgeons have been both overexploited and poached mainly for their caviar. It is now forbidden to catch them anymore, although it is too late as so few of them left yet to survive in the Black Sea. Some other targeted fish species of IUU fishing are bluefin tuna and swordfish in the Mediterranean Sea.

In addition, IUU fishing cause several threats in a manner of sustainability of fishing resources, conflicts between artisanal and industrial fisheries, damaging marine environment and causing also unfair competition, tax crime which leads to loss of revenues for states and more importantly loss of biological diversity in coastal and marine areas due to catch of non-target species such as sea birds, cetaceans, turtles and other non-commercial but ecological key species.

The main cause of this kind of fishing is due to weak governance framework, lack of trained staff and weak enforcement of laws, all of which IUU operators take advantage of, mainly in developing countries. Moreover, many crimes occur such as corrupting officials to issue license, to permit illegal landing of catches, to evade port state controls. While illegal fishing is against national laws or international obligations, the fight against such practices requires the engagement of state administrations, fisheries industries, NGOs and consumers.

Global seafood traceability and monitoring ‘from net to plates’ has also crucial importance to fight this threat and consumers should be made aware from where and how fish comes to their table. Even though the initiatives to combat IUU fishing have increased within the past 10 years, such effort is far from a success story yet. Nevertheless, UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolutions 67/79 and 68/71 highlighted that IUU fishing remains one of the greatest threats to fish stocks and marine ecosystems and continues to have serious and major implications for the conservation and management of ocean resources.

Moreover, the FAO’s International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing call all states to comply fully with all existing obligations to combat such fishing and urgently to take all necessary steps to implement them. This plan also includes monitoring and surveillance of fishing vessels with systems like Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and Automatic Identification System (AIS) to detect illegal operations and fishing grounds. Besides, preparing a national action plan, including capacity building for local authorities, is homework for the states.
To raise public awareness on IUU fishing issues, General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean Sea (GFCM) and Ministerial Conference on Fisheries Cooperation Among African States Bordering the Atlantic Ocean (ATLAFCO), both under the FAO umbrella, initiated the declaration of an international day for fighting against IUU fishing. This initiative may be a chance for zero tolerance of the IUU fishing practices in the Mediterranean Basin and East African Seas and others.

Finally, international cooperation and concerted actions are needed to secure global food security since the world population is increasing and there will be more protein demands continuously. It’s time to fill all loopholes to remove operational barriers for effective regional/global cooperation in combatting fishery crimes. We have to act together against IUU fishing in all oceans and seas for sustainable use of marine resources, not to let future stolen for our children….

Press Release – Warning for Jellyfish in the Mediterranean Sea!

WARNING FOR JELLYFISH IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA!

The migratory jellyfish Rhopilema nomadica has entered the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal in the late 1970’s and rapidly expanded in the central and western Mediterranean. It is already known from Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Tunisia and Italy so far. This year, there was an exceptional increase in jellyfish in February on the Eastern Mediterranean coasts. The migratory jellyfish Rhopilema nomadica was first seen in the Lebanese coast and then in the Turkish coast after a week. First it was observed in the eastern coasts of Turkey, in the Gulfs of İskenderun and Mersin, then in the Gulf of Antalya, and sailors and fishermen reported many records. Observations with varying frequency in March continued in April. Especially, it was reported mainly from the sea and coasts of Antalya. Rhopilema nomadica previously increased in Antalya in 2009 and 2010 and created adverse effects. In the Mediterranean, the increase in the abundance of jellyfish in this measure was experienced in late spring and summer in the previous years. With increasing sea water temperatures, the jelly increase started at the end of winter and is likely to increase further in the coming days.

Please be careful … Avoid Contact
Due to the presence of nematocytes (cnidocyte) when contacted to the jellyfish, clinical effects can be seen such as inflammation, pruritus, red & irritated marks on the skin and swelling.

“The swimmers, divers and amateur and professional fishermen must be careful and avoid contact to the jellyfish. In addition, more serious clinical cases can be seen in allergic people. Especially children should not touch to the stranded jellyfish and if they come into contact, they should not touch to other parts of their body and eyes. In case of contact with jellyfish, the tentacles stay attached to the skin and activated nematocysts initiate burning and itching. The itching then leaves its place to pain and redness. The nematocysts are sensitive to osmotic changes like fresh water application and cause further nematocyst discharge. So, it is recommended to use only seawater or salty water, ammonia or vinegar to wash the contacted area. Get medical care if you are experiencing any symptoms worse than skin irritation or have trouble breathing.”

Please report your observations…
Rhopilema nomadica entered the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal and poses a threat to fisheries, tourism and human health in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It is very important to establish monitoring programs in order to reduce the negative effects of the jellyfish.

If you see jellyfishes, please send a message (preferably with a picture) to tudav(at)tudav.org or call TUDAV (Tel: 0216 4240772)

About Rhopilema nomadica

It has a nearly spherical umbrella. It has no marginal tentacles. The nematocysts are found on the oral arms and the edge of the umbrella. The umbrella is pale blue with a diameter of 90 cm and weight of 10 kg. It is a “Lessepsian” species that entered from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. It feeds on planktons. It has a high reproductive potential since it can reproduce both sexual and asexual. Therefore, in short periods and especially from June to September, it can be seen more often and creates potential danger for swimmers, fishermen and divers.

http://www.yayakarsa.org/index.php/en/bu-canl-lara-dikkat/deniz-anas-tuerleri/39-rhopilema-nomadica
Photos: Dr. Elif ÖZGÜR ÖZBEK

Press Release – Sharks, Rays, Skates Should Be Protected

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Threatened species of sharks, rays and skates should be protected:
The National Cartilaginous Fish Conservation Action Plan has been published!

Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV) has publicly shared the National Cartilaginous Fish Conservation Action Plan for threatened species of sharks, rays and skates. The proposed action plan also suggests the protection of the threatened manta species whose catch have created great public reaction, recently.

On March 11, 2017, according to the news serviced by Anadolu Agency, thirty individuals of Mobula sp. were captured off the Mediterranean Sea and landed in the Izmir Harbor aiming to sell the fish to Greece by a dealer. On March 14, 2017, according to the news serviced by Ihlas News Agency (IHA), fourteen of them were sold to a fisherman in Istanbul for exhibition.

Fishing, landing, display and/or trade of this fish are restricted by international treaties that Turkey is party to. However, unfortunately the regulation was not included in the Notifications of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock of Turkish Republic regulating the Commercial (No 4/1) and Amateur (No. 4/2) Fisheries (No: 2016/35, 36), so the fishermen does not aware of the restriction and the protection status of the species.

The Manta individuals were caught as by-catch by a purse seiner targeting a commercially high-value fish, such as tuna. Although their low commercial value, fisherman still prefer to market the mantas when caught, instead of releasing. Although the studies on the survival rate of post-released individuals are very scarce, the current studies indicate that handling, boarding or removing fish from the water greatly decrease the survival rate; however releasing them directly from the brailer of the purse seine is considered as the best practice.

The incident regarding the catch, sale and display of the manta individuals caused a great reaction of the public, the national and international NGOs and concerned academicians. Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV) has been following up the incident since the first day and has spent intensive efforts to inform, act on and cooperate with all relevant institutions. However, no results could be obtained due to the indifference and insensitivity of the related institutions.

One day before this sad incident, on March 10, to form the National Cartilaginous Fish Conservation Action Plan, our foundation organized a day-long workshop with the participation of 5 universities, 4 NGO representatives, an expert from the related ministry, a municipal representative an a fisherman who is the head of a fishing co-operative. The restriction of the catch of twelve cartilaginous species is proposed in the draft of the National Action Plan in addition to the five species that already takes part in the notifications regulating the commercial and amateur fisheries. The action plan can be accessed from the link.

In spite of the insensitivity of the relevant institutions, it is evident that the reaction of the public has created awareness for the protection of the cartilaginous fish. Last year, TUDAV suggested the restriction of the catch of the threatened cartilaginous species to enter to the notifications of fisheries; but unfortunately rejected for all except for one species. TUDAV will continue to follow the actions that should be taken by the relevant institutions and steps taken to eliminate legal gaps at the national level. To follow-up at the international level, TUDAV will also support newly released IUCN Global Conservation Strategy for Devil and Manta Rays. 20.03.2017

More about the Mobula species
The species belonging to the genus Mobula, called as Kulaklıfolya, Şeytanbalığı (Devilfish) and Manta in Turkish. They are oceanic and pelagic cartilaginous fish species found over the continental shelves. They exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity) and giving birth to only one or two pups per gestation period. They are in the “IUCN Red List of Threatened Species” and fishing, landing, display and trade are restricted by various international, regional, and national legislations.

Among them, CMS Appendix I & II (2014), European Union (2015), IATTC (2015), and CITES (2016) are the international protections that restricts fishing and/or trade of multiple species of the genus (Mobula spp.). Additionally, M. mobular is listed in GFCM (2015), Barcelona Convention SPA/BD Protocol Annex II (2001) and Bern Convention Appendix II (2001). Turkey is party to CITES and GFCM and the Barcelona and Bern Conventions.

More about TUDAV
Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV) is carrying out scientific studies in the Turkish seas for 20 years and the efforts to protect Turkey’s marine life and biological diversity is one of our top priorities. At the same time, TUDAV carries out long-term studies on stranded dead and wounded sea mammals and has signed joint projects with international organizations such as ACCOBAMS, UNEP, MedPAN and CIESM.

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Press Release – Montreux Convention

Press Release – BlackSeaWatch

Press Release – Gökçeada Project