ANNOUNCEMENT 03 MARCH 2000
Turkish Government Preserves Ban on Trawlers
As you may remember, we, as a group of conservationists from the Middle East Technical University Institute of Marine Sciences, and the Underwater Research Society Monk Seal Research Group, had faced a serious threat which could have spoiled our 5-year effort to get a protection zone of 16 miles of Turkish coast free from industrial fishing (see ANNOUNCEMENT 26/11/1999). This region, the Cilician Basin, lies in the northeastern part of the Mediterranean, between Cyprus and the Turkish mainland. The protection zone on the Cilician Basin is essential for the survival and recovery of dwindling fish stocks and crucial to the protection of the number one most endangered species of seal (Monachus monachus), some of whose last remaining breeding caves exist in this area. It is also an important breeding area for 2 species of endangered sea turtle (Caretta caretta and Chelonia mydas).
Recently, the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs had been petitioned by the industrial fishermen to lift the ban on trawling and industrial fishing within this zone. We were fearful that the Ministry would side with the trawlers on this issue. We therefore asked help from you to initiate international pressure with your letters of concern addressed directly to the Ministry.
Meanwhile, the issue was discussed vigorously in the Ministry's advisory committee meeting. Now we are very pleased to inform you that the ministry has decided to keep the current protection status in the region.
On behalf of the wildlife surviving in the area, we would like to thank all those who helped us to keep this area free from commercial fishing.
For further information, please contact:
Ali Cemal Gücü
Middle East Technical University
Institute of Marine Sciences
P.O. Box 28
Erdemli 33731 Icel
Tel: +90 324 521 3434
Fax: +90 324 521 2327