Fishers’ responses towards the banning white grouper fishery in Turkey


  • Sinan Mavruk Fisheries-Marine Ecology
  • İsmet Saygu Cukurova University, Fisheries Faculty, Adana, Turkey
  • Fethi BENGIL Girne American University, Marine School, Vice Director of Graduate Institute



Conservation, Epinephelus aeneus, fisheries management, the eastern Mediterranean


Groupers are important fishes for the coastal ecosystems because of having a key role in the functioning of marine food webs. Their populations are increasingly affected by overfishing, habitat loss, and global warming. Since a reliable scientific background is lacking, their conservation is based on precautionary approaches, the applicability, and effectiveness of which are long questioned. Changes in Turkey's grouper fishery legislation constitute an excellent example of how a precautionary approach could not gain acceptance among the stakeholders. In Turkey, fishing on white groupers was banned in 2016. Before the ban, white groupers constituted a vital resource, particularly for demersal longliners, who strongly objected to the ban. After two years of closure, the ban had to be repealed by policymakers in 2018. In this study, we assessed the fishers' opinions about these changes in legislation and investigated shifts in their fishing practices based on qualitative interviews with the stakeholders. The ban significantly affected the demersal longliners who were indignant at the late announcement after making their investment for the coming fishing season. Referring our interviews, longliners were grouped under three categories based on their reflexes towards the ban. Some of the wholly left fishing started to use gill nets or thin longlines targeting goatfishes, sea breams, and particularly invasive threadfin bream (Nemipterus randalli) after the ban. According to the anecdotes of fishery controllers and fishers' community leaders, illegal fishing on groupers continued even after the ban. The guestimates of the rate of illegal fishing were roughly ranged between 20 % and 40%. In conclusion, further steps are required for the conservation of groupers, and in addition to establishing a reliable biological baseline, more participatory approaches will be helpful for this purpose.


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How to Cite

Mavruk, S., Saygu, İsmet, & BENGIL, F. (2020). Fishers’ responses towards the banning white grouper fishery in Turkey. Journal of Wildlife and Biodiversity, 50–57.