A short history of sturgeon caviar production in Turkey

Memis D.

JOURNAL OF APPLIED ICHTHYOLOGY, cilt.30, ss.1552-1556, 2014 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 30 Konu: 6
  • Basım Tarihi: 2014
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1111/jai.12602
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.1552-1556


Compared to other countries, caviar production in Turkey has a short history, which began principally in the early 1950s, peaked during the 1960s, and began to decline towards the end of the 1970s. Sturgeon fishery was practiced in the estuaries of the rivers Kzlrmak, Yeilrmak, Sakarya and Coruh. Thus, processed caviar originated from the districts of Carsamba, Bafra (Samsun City) and Karasu (Sakarya City) and appeared mainly in the markets of Istanbul. Techniques used to capture mature fish were nets set at sea and with hooks (karmak' in Turkish) at the mouth of a river. Two processing techniques were commonly used: (i) malossol/mongol caviar (lightly/highly salted) and (ii) pressed caviar. Landings were mainly recorded in the Istanbul Kumkap fish hall, reaching 300 tonnes per year in the late 1960s; however, catches declined drastically in the 1970s to only about 30 tonnes. In 1962, caviar production from Acipenser sturio was between 1200 and 1300kg in the Yeilrmak River; 1000 to 1200kg in the Kzlrmak River; and 50 to 80kg in the Sakarya River. For A.nudiventris, the respective data were 300-400kg from Yeilrmak River; 500-600kg from Kzlrmak River; and 200-250kg from Sakarya River. The rapid decline in Black Sea sturgeon stocks led to catch restrictions in Turkish coastal areas beginning in 1971. Following the construction of several hydrodams on the main sturgeon rivers in the 1970s, the few sturgeon spawning grounds that remained were drastically affected. Further deterioration of riverine environments was caused by increased pollution in the 1970s-1990s. Sturgeon catches dropped rapidly to less than 10 tonnes after 1975, whereby the fishery collapsed with only a few fish recorded sporadically after 2000. Over the past five years, aquaculture farms began to rear sturgeons for caviar production, with anticipation of initial marketing in 2014-2015. The forecast for 2020 is on the order of 6-8 tonnes of caviar per year.