The pearl mullet, which lives in Lake Van and migrates to fresh waters during the breeding season, will be protected by the security forces during the hunting ban. The migration of pearl mullet to fresh waters will soon begin, which is a source of livelihood for approximately 15 thousand people in the districts of İpekyolu, Edremit, Tusba, Gevaş, Muradiye and Erciş in Van, which have a shore to the lake, and in Ahlat, Adilcevaz and Tatvan districts of Bitlis. Preparations have been completed for the protection of the pearl mullet, which swims against the water to lay its eggs on April 15, when the hunting ban is implemented, and presents a visual feast while trying to overcome the obstacles in front of it by almost “flying”. Coast Guard Command teams deployed in Lake Van last year will operate 15/3 in order to prevent pearl mullet from being hunted during the 7-month ban period.
With coast guard boats, the teams that will make continuous inspections of Lake Van with an area of 3 square kilometers and the river beds suitable for hunting will fight against poaching by using thermal and night vision cameras and radar systems with superior detection capabilities. Animal Situation Monitoring teams of the police and gendarmerie and the municipal police will also keep under constant surveillance of possible workplaces and routes where the fish can be sold.
We Will Have Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Continuously in the Air
Governor Mehmet Emin Bilmez said that pearl mullet is an important value for the Van Lake Basin. Explaining that the fishermen are making their final preparations before the fishing ban, Bilmez said:
As of April 15, the hunting season ends. This year, especially Coast Guard teams will work in the region. Coast Guard teams made a coordinated plan to prevent fish from being caught during the breeding season in all stream beds. Preparations for the hunting ban season have been completed. Hopefully, the Coast Guard teams will add a serious strength to us this year. Compared to previous years, we will exhibit a more planned study to protect fish.
Stating that the citizens started to be more sensitive about not fishing the fish, Bilmez said that everyone should protect the pearl mullet in this process. Explaining that there has been an increase in the flow rates of the creek beds due to the heavy rainfall this year, this situation will positively affect the fish that will migrate to fresh waters, Bilmez said:
Coast Guard crews have very serious radar systems on their boats. Radars mounted on vehicles can also be used on land. Therefore, we will know at what time and where poachers can catch fish. We will take all precautions in those areas. We will always have unmanned aerial vehicles in the air. We will be able to do both with aircraft and fishermen. We will mobilize all our means to protect fish in the air, on land and in the lake. We will definitely not give an opportunity to illegal fishermen. All kinds of penalties will be applied. Our soldiers and our university teams will be on the field in all stream beds on a 7/24 basis.
Population Increased Thanks to Conservation Studies
Bilmez stated that they would not make any concessions in their inspection works, and the population of the pearl mullet, which was about to become extinct 20 years ago, has increased thanks to these conservation efforts. We assess that the fish stock is over 50 thousand tons. 10 thousand tons of fish are caught annually. While 20-12 fish weighed a kilogram 14 years ago, now 6-7 fish have reached a weight of one kilogram. Today, one third of the fish caught in inland waters are kept in Lake Van. This is a success achieved thanks to the measures taken. It is a value we add to our country's economy," he said.