Pearl Mullet
Pearl mullet is an endemic fish species of Lake Van in Turkey, the largest soda lake on earth. During April-June, the spawning period of the fish, the mullets travel upstream through the lakes tributaries to lay eggs and after spawning they return to the lake. The fish is traditionally hunted and consumed salted with eggs during the reproduction period. Local people catch so many pearl mullets in may - june that they dont have to fish for the rest of the year. In the course of time this over harvesting became a threat to species. The Nature Observers Society continues its conservation efforts for achievement of sustainable pearl mullet fishery which is currently the main source of income for 14,000 local people living around the lake. The project focused on supporting the enforcement of the ban and encouraging the professional fishery. As a result of these efforts, illegal fishing has been decreased by 60% in the last 10 years. Due to the fact that the distribution of pearl mullet can be seen in the lake beyond the reproduction season, the professional fishery takes place in a 290-days period of time except for April 15-June 30. The number of fishing boats has increased by 60% when compared to 1996 figures. The fishing ban during reproduction period and rising income level from professional fishery are other influential factors on this increase.
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