Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (2016)

DOI: 10.1017/s0025315416000060


This is the first study estimating cetacean by-catch in the Turkish western Black Sea turbot fishery. One turbot fishing boat was observed during two fishing seasons, from April through July 2007 and April through mid-September 2008. During this time, 24 harbour porpoises and one bottlenose dolphin were caught in turbot trammel nets. The by-catch rate was found to be 0.18 for harbour porpoise and 0.01 for bottlenose dolphin individuals per kilometre in 2007, and 0.19 for harbour porpoise individuals in 2008. It is estimated that the total numbers of harbour porpoises killed in the Turkish western Black Sea during the legal fishing period (April and July) were 167 ± 153 (CV: 0.92) in 2007 and 329 ± 220 (CV: 0.67) in 2008, and the number killed during both legal and illegal periods of turbot fishing were 2011 ± 742 (CV: 0.37) in 2007 and 2294 ± 806 (CV: 0.35) in 2008. The estimated range of harbour porpoise by-catch in the turbot fishery on the Turkish western Black Sea coast is between these two estimates. The by-caught harbour porpoises were between 1–8 years of age. About half of them were within the age range of 4 (26%) and 5 (21%) years old, and 78% were physically immature individuals. Turbot fishing carried out with bottom nets, especially in May and June, when turbot fishing is banned, is a threat to the sustainability of harbour porpoise stocks.