Salmon farming in the Black Sea increases rapidly

by Thomas Jensen
Turkish grown sea trout

Cluster of expertise forms in Trabzon

This article was featured in Eurofish Magazine 4 2022.

After the fishing ban which started on 15 April in Turkey, farmed fish from the Black Sea region is the primary product in the shops. The harvest of Turkish “salmon” produced in cages begins in May and continues throughout June.


Since 1960, when Turkey started aquaculture production, it has been following international innovations in the field of fish farming, keeping up with the new technologies and contributing to these developments through its universities, state institutions and the private sector. One of the most recent innovations is the production of Turkish “salmon,” which is in fact rainbow trout reared on land and then introduced into cages in the Black Sea for its final growth. When sold this fish takes its place at fish counters next to the imported salmon that is commonly seen in the market.

Economic success of Turkish sea-raised trout

The production of these farmed fish, which are not different from imported salmon in terms of nutritional value, increased by 120% to 40 thousand tonnes in 2021 compared to the previous year. Approximately 85% of this product was exported to various countries. Turkey‘s target salmon production in 2023 is 100 thousand tons. Due to the appreciation for Turkish salmon by international consumers, efforts are being made to establish new farming facilities and increase current production amounts and capacity utilization rates to meet increasing export demand.

Due to the environmental characteristics of the Black Sea, the fish are placed in cages in winter for six months, between November and May, when they weigh 500-800 g. They show exponential growth rates in the sea. By the time they are harvested the fish can weigh between 2.5 and 5 kg. The waters of the Black Sea generally create a suitable environment for trout farming. Compared to other seas in Turkey, the Black Sea is cooler throughout the year. The salinity in the Black Sea is also below that of other seas. This is due to the abundant rainfall in the Black Sea and the large amount of fresh water brought by the streams flowing into the sea. This environment is suitable for the different growth stages of the fish.

Turkish Ministry remains focused on sustainability and transparency

Trout farming activities, which started in cages in the Black Sea in the 1990s, led the private sector to profit-oriented trout farming in the Black Sea in 2018, with the technological developments in aquaculture in the open seas. The ministry follows these studies closely and acts as a guide for the breeders to ensure a controlled development. One of the regulations issued by the ministry in a joint decision with producers is that these fish produced must be branded as “Turkish Salmon”. Many events are organized in order to increase recognition of this label in foreign markets.

In the face of the increasing export demand for these fish, which are increasing in popularity on the international market, attempts are being made to ensure the sustainability of the fish stocks by establishing new production facilities and increasing the current production quantities and capacity utilization ratio. For the sustainable development of this market a balance must be struck between protection of the Black Sea habitat and its use.

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