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Akyol O., Özgül A., Şen H., Düzbastılar F.O., Ceyhan T. 2019. Determining potential conflicts between small-scale fisheries and sea-cage fish farms in the Aegean Sea. Acta Ichthyol. Piscat. 49 (4): 365–372.

Background. Fish farms attract both juvenile and adult wild fishes in great numbers and diversity. These wild fishes also become an easy target stock for local fishers, both professional and recreational. There are three groups of interest in this study, the fish farmers, small-scale fishermen (professional), and recreational fishers (mostly anglers but also spear fishers). This study was intended to determine conflicts derived from the adverse social and bioecological interactions from the perspective of both local fishermen and fish farmers and to determine the observed incidence of predators.

Materials and methods. In this study, 48 randomly selected fish farms, 28 fishery cooperatives, and 33 fishing ports located close to aquaculture areas were visited for face-to-face interviews with the fishermen of small-scale fisheries (SSF) between July 2015 and July 2017. The main purpose of the survey questionnaire was to ask SSF fishermen for their opinion about offshore aquaculture and vice versa—ask the fish farmers about SSF, emphasizing issues potentially creating problems. Data were collected mainly on sociodemographic profiles, current problems, reciprocal conflict issues, the impact of offshore fish farming on SSF activities, and on bioecological interactions such as predator attacks and problems with farm fish escapes.

Results. Approximately 77% of fishermen in Izmir and 71% of fishermen in Muğla declared that they had problems with the sea-cage fish farms. On the other hand, 40% of fish farmers in Izmir and 54% of fish farmers in Muğla reported problems with local SSF. The fishermen believe that in recent years, Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), sea turtle (Caretta caretta), and invasive fish (pufferfish, etc.) populations have been increasing in Muğla. Additionally, 46% of Muğla fish farmers and 60% of Izmir fish farmers acknowledged cases of fishes escaping from sea-cages. In terms of the predators, 84% of Muğla and 75% of Izmir’s fishermen expressed their concerns regarding predator attacks on the sea-cage farms.

Conclusion. Further studies, based on socioeconomic issues, are needed for better understanding the dimensions of incomes and economic losses of SSF and cooperation issues in the area where the interaction is high. We suggest that all stakeholders, small-scale fishermen, in particular, must be integrated with a management plan, and the cooperation among both fishing groups should be encouraged.

Keywords: professional fisheries, recreational fisheries, user conflicts, marine aquaculture, predators, fish attraction



DOI: 10.3750/AIEP/02681

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