Marine Science

p-ISSN: 2163-2421    e-ISSN: 2163-243X

2013;  3(3): 55-64


Sinop City Fishery of the Black Sea

Levent Bat, Murat Sezgin, Fatih Şahin, Zekiy

Fisheries Faculty, Sinop University, Sinop, 57000, Turkey

Correspondence to: Levent Bat, Fisheries Faculty, Sinop University, Sinop, 57000, Turkey.


Copyright © 2012 Scientific & Academic Publishing. All Rights Reserved.


The Black Sea has historically been one of the most biologically productive regions in the world. Although it has 168 fish species, there are only a few species of commercial importance and the supply of fishes is limited, because intensive fishing, industrialisation and urbanisation have caused the most favoured species to decline. This review prepared to give information on Sinop fisheries of Turkish coasts of the Black Sea.

Keywords: Black Sea, Sinop, Fishery

Cite this paper: Levent Bat, Murat Sezgin, Fatih Şahin, Zekiy, Sinop City Fishery of the Black Sea, Marine Science, Vol. 3 No. 3, 2013, pp. 55-64. doi: 10.5923/

1. Introduction

Turkey is bordered by seas on three sides having a total coastline of 8.333 km; 24 million ha of marine space and 1685 km of it is constituted of the Black Sea coasts. Turkish fishery production is based on marine fishery which produced 76% of the production for 2007. The amount of fishing carried out in 2007 in Turkish seas exceeded 500 thousand tons. For the main part the fishing carried out in our seas consisted of 385 thousand tons of anchovies, 21 thousand tons of sardines, 13 thousand tons of haddock, nearly 32 thousand tons of mackerel and the remainder of other marine produces[1]. 19.30% of the population in Turkey is habitant of coastal cities and 86% of this population live along the Black Sea coasts[2]. Since there is no considerable improvement in offshore fisheries, the Black Sea is the main region of fisheries in Turkey. 93.7% of fisheries production in Turkey is from the Black Sea (83.7%) and Sea of Marmara (10%)[3]. Turkey has the highest share of fisheries obtained through the catch and aquaculture among the Black Sea countries. The total amount of product obtains from the Black Sea by fishing is 48.13% in Turkey, whereas it is 32.70% in Ukraine, 10.08% in Russia, 4.14% in Georgia, 2.78 in Romania and 2.17% in Bulgaria[4]. Although the diversity of fish is limited in the Black Sea, the long coastline and the intensive fisheries of economical species have rendered fisheries an important source of income.
According to FAO[5] there are 7380, 2912, 2300, 1261, 880 and 324 fishing boats in Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania and Georgia, respectively. 65% of the total of fisheries production is covered by the Black Sea coast of Turkey[4].
Sinop (Figure 1) is considered to be the mid-point of the Black Sea in Turkey and is located on Boztepe peninsula which is the most extended point of Turkish Black Sea coastline towards north. The fact that three sides of the peninsula are surrounded by sea has made fisheries a significant means of income. Fishery has an important place in the economy of Sinop. In the centrum Ayancik, Gerze and Türkeliare coastal towns of Sinop. Commercial fisheries are presented with two different types as large scale (drag-net and trawl fishing) and small scale (fishing boats smaller than 12 meters which use long line, fishing line etc.) fisheries. About half of anchovy in the Black Sea is caught in Sinop coast. During the year according to the season and weather conditions, different kinds of fish are caught. Between August and November, blue fish, large bluefish, bonito; between November and April anchovy; between May and July grey mullet, horse mackerel, whiting, red mullet and red gurnard species are caught. For the fishing season turbot and shark are caught and exported. Sport fishing is also present in Sinop besides in addition to commercial fisheries.
A total of 3455 licensed fishermen and 536 fishing vessels are available in Sinop including its districts with harbors such as Ayancık and Gerze[6]. Fishing activities continue throughout the year depending on meteorological conditions except closed season and the duration of the catch season ranges between 60 and 270 days. The amount of catch shows variation. The catchment areas where coastal fisheries activities take place are Akliman, Sarıkum, İnceburun and Gerze (Çakıroğlu).
Figure1. Sinop region

2. Fishing Vessels and Equipment

92% of 536 fishing boats (495) in Sinop are below 12 meters whereas 4% (20) are larger than 12 meters and 4% (21) larger than 20 meters (Figure 2)[6].
Figure 2. The lengths of the fishing boats in Sinop
58% of fishing boats are in the city centre of Sinop, 32% in Gerze and 10% in Ayancık districts.
The construction material of the fishing boats are mainly metal sheets or wood and fibre is generally not preferred. A great majority of the boats with a length below 17 meters is made of wood. The construction material is of significance in terms of several parameters such as safety, comfort and lifespan of the boat. 95% of boats are made of wood, 4% metal sheet and 1% fibre.
Figure 3. Distribution of the ages of fishing boats in Sinop
Half the amount of fishermen uses boats with a minimum age of 10 years and the new boats make up only 5% of the total (Figure 3)[6].
When the fishing equipment are considered, the most frequently used are gill nets (49%) due to the small and middle scale fishermen and it is followed by trammel nets (22%) and long line (11%) (Figure 4).
Figure 4. Fishing equipment used in Sinop

3. Socioeconomic Structure

Erk[7] has implemented a face-to-face inquiry among 80 selected fishermen between 2011 and 2012 in Sinop. The information given in this section has been prepared as a summary of this survey.
In this study, fishing activities performed by fishing boats below 12 meters has been regarded as Small Scale Fishery (SSF) and larger than 12 meters as Large Scale Fishery (LSF). As we consider the fishing periods of small scale fishermen, 34% of them are recognized to deal with fisheries for more than 30 years. The share of the fishermen performing fishing activities for 10-20 years is 43%. Among the large scale fishermen the highest ratio is 43% belonging to those continuing fisheries for 20-30 years (Table 1).
Table 1. The ratio of the duration of fishing activities carried out by fishermen in Sinop (%) (SSF: Small Scale Fishery, LSF: Large Scale Fishery)
37% of small scale fishermen are found to be high school graduates, whereas 29% middle school, 18% primary school and 16% vocational school graduates.33% of large scale fishermen are primary and middle school graduates, 29% are high school graduates whereas 11% have a bachelor’s degree (Table 2). No illiterates were encountered among these fishermen.
Table 2. The educational backgrounds of fishermen in Sinop (%) (SSF: Small Scale Fishery, LSF: Large Scale Fishery)
2,27% of fishermen in the Black Sea were detected to be illiterate, 58,44% have a primary school education, 14,94% middle school, 20,78% high school and 3,57% university education[8]. The education level of fishermen in Sinop can be considered as above the mean of the Black Sea.
67% of fishermen have two children, 20% one child and 13% have three children. 58% of large scale fishermen have two children, 26% have three, 5% have five and 11% have four or more number of children (Table 3).
Table 3. The percentage of the number of children belonging to fishermen in Sinop (%) (SSF: Small Scale Fishery, LSF: Large Scale Fishery)
55% of small scale fishermen have financial responsibility toward four people whereas 21% toward five or more people. 13% of single individuals live alone (Table 4). Remaining single individuals stated that they carry out fishing activities in order to support the budget of their family.
40% of large scale fishermen have financial responsibility toward four people whereas 45% toward five or more people.
When we analyse the social assurance of small scale fishermen in Sinop, 40% of them have assurance from Private Pension System, 8% from Social Insurance Institution and 18% from Superannuation Fund. There is also a large amount of people (34%) who are not under social protection. 59% of large scale fishermen have no social assurance whereas 17% have from the Social Insurance Institution, 12% from the Private Pension System and 12% from Superannuation Fund (Table 5).
Table 4. The percentage of individuals toward whom fishermen have financial responsibility (SSF: Small Scale Fishery, LSF: Large Scale Fishery)
Table 5. The percentage of social security institutions of fishermen in Sinop (%) (SSF: Small Scale Fishery, LSF: Large Scale Fishery)
A great majority of people who carry out small scale fisheries are retired and deal only with fishing activities. 34% of small scale and 79% of large scale fishermen only earn from fisheries. Besides, the amount of people dealing with fisheries as an extra is at a considerable level (Table 6).
Table 6. The percentage of professions observed among people carrying out fishing activities in Sinop (%) (SSF: Small Scale Fishery, LSF: Large Scale Fishery)

4. Fish Species-Catch Amounts

The most comprehensive study of fish species in the Central Black Sea (Sinop-Samsun) Region is by Bat et al.[9] and a total of 94 species belonging to 44 families have been identified (Table 7).
Fisheries of economic fish species such as anchovy, horse mackerel, and bluefish (small), Whiting, Atlantic bonito, Allis shad, turbot and garfish are carried out in Sinop. According to the statistics of 2010, 96% (12374 tons) of fish caught are composed of anchovy followed by whiting (126,2 tons) and Atlantic bonito (102,1 tons), respectively (Table 8).
Table 7. The fishes of Sinop and Samsun coasts of the Black Sea. (Status as per International Red Data Book: IUCN Red Data List;LR: Lower Risk; nt: Near Threatened; EN: Endangered; DD: Data Deficient. Habitat: Mu-muddy, S- sandy, R- rocky, V-vegetation, G-Gravel, Bp- benthopelagic, Bd- Bathydemersal, P-pelagic, D- Demersal, M- Marine, O- Oceanodromous, C- Catadromus, A- Anadromous, Amp- Amphidromous, Br- Brackish, Fw-Freshwater, Nm- Nonmigratory, Ra- Reef-associated Zoogeoraphical origin: A-M- Atlanto Mediterranean, C- Cosmopolitan, P-C- Ponto Caspia, E- Endemic, I-P- Indo-Pacific)[9]
Table 8. Amount of fish caught in Sinop between 2005-2010 (tons)[10]

5. Fish Weight-Length Relationships

Anchovy, constituting 65% of Turkish fisheries production, is of significance for fisheries of Turkey as well as other Black Sea countries. Moreover, the anchovy has an important role in the Black Sea ecosystem. Population dynamics of foremost anchovy and several other economic fish species have been studied in the Black Sea. Growth parameters and growth performance values of anchovy obtained by various authors in the Black Sea are given in Table 9.
Important biological parameters and population dynamics of several fish species caught in highest amounts between Sinop and Samsun areas of the Central Black Sea are presented below (Tables 10).
In terms of fisheries economics, studies have been carried out on weight-length relationship and condition factors of economic fish species caught in Samsun and Sinop areas of the Central Black Sea where intensive fishing activities are observed. Some information on these studies is given in Table 11.
Table 9. Growth parameters and growth performance of anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) (L∞, K, to: Von Bertalanffy growth parameters, Ø': Growth performances)
Table 10. Population parameters of some fishes (L∞, K: Von Bertalanffy growth parameters; Z : Total Instantaneous Mortality; S:Survival Rate; A:Real Rate of Mortality; M:Natural Mortality Rate; F:Fishing Mortality Rate; E: Exploitation Ratio)
Table 11. Weight-length relationship and condition factors of economic fish species caught in Samsun and Sinop areas of the Black Sea, Turkey

6. Discussion and Conclusions

As a result of eutrophication caused by increased nutrient input via major north-western rivers during the last few decades, the Black Sea ecosystem has been subject to extreme changes in recent years. Abnormal changes due to altered nutrient balance were reflected in the qualitative and quantitative composition of biota including ichthyofauna [9]. Black Sea is a very narrow continental shelf and very thin oxygenated upper layer and eutrophic nature, favours pelagic fishes. This is caused in the catch composition of the landings, in which small pelagic fish more than 90% of the total catch [46]. Bottom trawls are efficient fishing gears for demersal fisheries and it is the most important fishing method in the catch of demersal fish species with a share of 60% [47]. The high economic value of marine products from the Black sea include anchovy, sprat, horse mackerel, bonito, bluefish of pelagic species and red mullet, whiting, turbot of demersal fishes and sea snails and mussels, respectively [4]. The catching of Sinop region was mainly constituted by same species. Moreover, the Black Sea especially in Sinop coast was the most important spawning area for all commercial fish species, including the predator species, which migrated for spawning or feeding [9]. Turkish fishery production is based on marine fishery which produced 76% of the production for 2007 [1]. According to TUIK [10] anchovy constitutes 67% of the Black Sea fisheries and 49% of Turkish fisheries. So, any change in the distribution of anchovy and the quantity of fishing in any fishing season has an important effect on total annual fishing amount [4]. The Turkish Government applied two major items in order to reduce the cost of fishery by 1) Tax Relief Scheme for Diesel Oil Used in Fishing Vessel and 2) Subsidized Credit Scheme for Fishermen [46]. Gücü [46] also pointed out that reducing the cost of fishing relieved fisheries economy to a certain extent, but the impact of these decisions on fish stocks have been detrimental.
In general, Turkish fisheries including Sinop fishery display coastal fishing activities which are on a daily basis by leaving the local port, fishing throughout the day and returning back to the port [48]. However, it is quite clear that the Black Sea region including Sinop coast have a great impact of total production of marine fish of Turkish fisheries and Sinop fisheries constitute an important fishery industry and contribution to employment. There is an improvement in the availability of catch and biological data for economic species caught from the Sinop coast of the Black Sea. However biological and ecological data catch and effort statistics for all economical species are still incomplete. Thus, it is strongly recommended that further researches are needed before any conclusion is drawn.


This study is a contribution to the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under Grant Agreement No. 287844 for the project "Towards COast to COast NETworks of marine protected areas ( from the shore to the high and deep sea), coupled with sea-based wind energy potential" (COCONET).


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