Capital  TurkeyCapital: Ankara

 PopPopulation: 80.8 million
(2017, Turkish Statistical Institute)

EuroGDP: €754 billion  
(2017, Turkish Statistical Insitute) 

GDP/capita: €8 849 
      (2017, Turkish Statistical Institute)

Overview of the Turkish fisheries and aquaculture sector 


Fisheries sector

TR Fish

Turkey is surrounded by four seas which give the country a rich and diverse coastline that supports many economic activities. With a total surface area of 26 million ha and rivers with a total length of 177 714 km, Turkey is a country suitable for fish production due to its richness in water resources.

Capture marine fishery makes up about 91% of total production that amounted to 322 173 tonnes in 2017 from all the seas surrounding the country; Mediterranean, Aegean Sea, Black Sea, and Marmara Sea. Marine fisheries sector direct employs 31 842 person. The marine fleet consists of 14 479 vessels. The Black Sea is responsible for a little under three quarters of the annual catches.

Anchovy, pilchard, sprat, and horse mackerel are the main small pelagic species in terms of volume, which amounted to 85% of the marine catch in 2017. Caught primarily in the Black Sea, they are used almost exclusively in the production of fishmeal and fish oil, two of the main ingredients in fish feed. Fish caught for human consumption, on the other hand, comes from all the seas surrounding Turkey, although the Black Sea catches are significantly higher than those from the other three regions, Mediterranean, Aegean Sea and Marmara Sea.

Inland capture fisheries produced about 32 145 tonnes in 2017, continuing the decreasing trend in catches over the past several years. The most important species are inci kefali (tarek) and gibel carp, with their share making up over half of the production. Other important species are sand smelt, mullets common carp and land snail.



TR Aqua

Technological advances, combined with governmental strategy, scientific "know–how", and high quality of production has facilitated an increase of the national aquaculture output in recent decades. The rapid growth of the aquaculture sector has made Turkey the leading producer in the Mediterranean. Currently, it produces large quantities of European sea bass, gilthead sea bream, and rainbow trout. Turkish production extends also to the Black Sea, where sea-raised trout and European sea bass are cultivated. One of the typical characteristics of aquaculture in Turkey is that it is mostly based on intensive systems of carnivorous fish species.

The total production of the Turkish aquaculture sector reached 276 502 tonnes in 2017, with freshwater aquaculture production reaching 104 010 tonnes, while marine aquaculture produced 172 492 tonnes. The main freshwater specie is trout, which is almost all of total production. The main marine species are sea bass and sea bream with total production of 160 061 tonnes. This represents 93% of the total marine aquaculture production.

In 2016, Turkey was the largest producer of farmed sea bass in the world that also made Turkey the largest exporter of sea bass products globally, with nearly all of the extra-EU imports for sea bass come from Turkey. Turkey is also one of the largest producers of sea bream in the world.

Sea bass, together with sea bream culture is carried out in provinces located on the coast of the Aegean Sea. Turkish companies are also involved in tuna culture, which started accelerating and becoming widespread among European countries after 2000. Whereas marine aquaculture production mostly depends on cage farming, freshwater production is carried out mostly in land-based units extracting water from rivers, but also in cages set in lakes and hydro-electric or irrigation dams.

The number of vertically integrated groups operating their own hatcheries, fish feed plants, fish farms, and processing and packaging facilities is increasing constantly. In 2017, there were 1 881 inland and 427 marine aquaculture facilities. Approximately 10 500 persons are employed in the aquaculture industry.


Processing and trade

TR Proc

Currently there are 210 processing enterprises, employing approximately 6 500 persons (2017). Turkey that have been approved for export to the EU for fishery products. Processed fish is aimed mainly at export markets as preferences on the domestic market are primarily for fresh fish. Farmed sea bass and sea bream are exported chilled or frozen as gutted and filleted, in vacuum-sealed trays; more recently, they have also been exported as frozen ready meals. Farmed rainbow trout is filleted and smoked for western markets.

Export of seafood includes crustaceans, molluscs, and cephalopods, which may be frozen, preserved, or chilled. The EU is Turkey’s primary market for fish and seafood exports, but exports are increasing to Russia, the Middle East and even Asia and the US. Turkey also has a tuna ranching industry which catches and fattens tuna for the Japanese market. The total exports of fisheries and aquaculture products increased to 156 681 tonnes in 2017.

With nearly 100 444 tonnes of fish imported to Turkey in 2017, Norway is by far the main supplier country for imports of fisheries and aquaculture products. Turkish imports include frozen mackerel and other small pelagic fish, salmonids, and cephalopods. Imports of fishmeal and fish oil are also significant due to the large demand for fish feed.



Although, it is surrounded by seas, fish consumption in Turkey equals only half of the world average and one third of the average consumption in the EU. Trout and sea bass are popular in the Mediterranean region. In eastern Turkey, anchovy is the most preferred consumed fish, followed by trout. The Marmara and Aegean regions are the leading areas as far as level and variety of fish consumption are concerned.

Turkish consumers have historically preferred meat products, and fish consumption differs between the regions. Whereas the fish consumption is little in inland areas, it is more predominantly in coastal areas of Turkey (Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Aegean Sea and Marmara Sea). Per capita consumption in 2017 was 5.5 kg, this was a slight increase from 2016, however, there has been a general negative trend in consumption with a decrease of 2.5 kg or 32% since the turn of the century.



Conflicts between the marine aquaculture sector and other users of the coast, such as the tourism industry, were reduced significantly when fish farms were reallocated offshore. This move contributed to a growth in production, which is projected to increase further to 600 000 tonnes, including trout, in 2023 with the help of freshwater cage production, the recent construction of dams and designation of the new marine aquaculture areas.

Well-developed research infrastructure, comprising a network of faculties, departments, and laboratories at universities with links to the industry, provide a wealth of "know-how" as well as a supply of educated employees to promote the growth of the sector. New sectors like mussel and shrimp farming, which the government is keen to develop, will also play a role in the overall expansion in production. Certification to standards such as Global G.A.P, Friend of the Sea, and ISO 14000 are becoming widespread.

Aquaculture farms and fishing vessels require improvements to infrastructure in order to protect product quality and prevent post-harvest losses. Investments in fishing are needed to improve economic performance of the sector.



Below you can find the "Turkish Fisheries 2017" publication produced by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock. For more information, you can visit the link below.



Useful Links for Turkey


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TR l

Fish production and trade:
(2017, Turkish Statistical Institute)

Fishing BoatCapture: 354 318 tonnes live weight

AquaAquaculture: 276 502 tonnes live weigh

TradeExport value: €757 million 
Import value
€204 million

Download Turkey's fisheries and aquaculture factsheet

Features in Eurofish Magazine:

Eurofish Magazine 5 2015

Eurofish Magazine 2 2014

Eurofish Magazine 1 2012

Eurofish Magazine 5 2010

The most recent articles featuring Turkey in the Eurofish Magazine are listed here.

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