A new law regulating the field of fisheries will introduce a license for recreational fishing in Turkey, drawing mixed reactions from people who fish with their hand-lines in lakes, at sea shores and on small boats.
Recreational fishermen will have to take a course organized by the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry in order to obtain the license, which will allow them to fish all across Turkey, Those without a license will have to pay a 200 Turkish lira fine, according to the new draft.
The draft regulation, which also includes fishing on Istanbul’s Galata Bridge and on the Bosphorus shore, drew different reactions from the recreational fishermen.
Fuat Peker, a 61-year-old man fishing on Galata Bridge told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday he had been fishing there for the last 50 years and such a regulation should have been introduced long before. “I wish it had been introduced 40 years ago to restrict who can fish,” he said.
He also complained about the lack of fish because of the night fishing done with nets. “I haven’t even caught one fish since the morning,” he said.
Another recreational fisherman, Serkan Alıcı, claimed there were people who make money by selling proper fishing places, which they occupy on the bridge, to people who arrive later.
He entirely supported the imposition of a fishing license.
However, a pensioner, Selahattin Altınışık, said he is opposed to the regulation. “I’m retired. This is my only hobby, and now they will divest us from this,” he said.
Altınışık said he has tried to earn some money by selling the fish he catches on the bridge.
“I’ve been close to the sea since I was 6. This is my lifestyle,” he said.
“My salary is around 850 liras, so I try to make some pocket money by fishing here,” he added. Still, he defended the necessity for a control mechanism.
Furthermore, a member of the Amateur Hand-line Fishing Association warned the scope of this regulation would be “too broad,” underlining the necessity to determine limits for the recreational fishing mentioned in the draft.
“People who want to fish for non-commercial but sportive and recreational purposes between the ages of 18 and 60 have to receive permission from the ministry,” says article five of the new Fisheries Law draft.
The Agriculture and Livestock Ministry explained the aim of the new Fisheries Law, which will replace the older one dating 1971, to register and protect fish species.
Recreational fishing is strictly regulated in the United States and the United Kingdom. While fishing licenses for the youth cost relatively less, fishing for sports as a hobby without license, is also prohibited.