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Welcome to the GFCM Database on National Fisheries Legislation

Please read the 'Introduction' in the Main Page before starting.

N.B: the below reported contents are currently subject to revision and will be thus updated in due course.


For further information, please visit the Fisheries and Aquaculture Country Profile of Turkey in the FAO Website, here.

Turkey has been a member of the GFCM since the 6th of April 1954. The country is not party to the UN Law of the Sea Convention and the UN Fish Stock Agreement of 1995. Turkey has not even ratified the FAO Compliance Agreement of 1993 and also the FAO Port State Measures Agreement of 2009.


Access regime to fisheries resources

The main legislation governing the access to fisheries resources is the Fisheries Law No. 1380 and the Fisheries Regulation No. 22223 of 1995, which sets forth a licensing system for fishing vessels and fishers.

Administrative authorizations and licenses

National fishing vessels must obtain a fishing licence from the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, in order to engage into commercial fishing activities in national waters. The validity period of the license is two years. Turkish vessels must be also authorized by the Ministry before engaging in fishing activities in the territorial waters of other countries.

Every fisherman working on a vessel must have an official registration authorized by the Ministry. The validity period is five years.

Minimum requirements attached to the licence are found in Annex 1 and Annex 3 of the Regulation amending Fisheries Regulation – 18/10/2001.

Specific permission are also required for:

  • scientific or technical campaigns
  • fishing operations with bottom-trawling, electroshock, electricity
  • fishing operations in prohibited areas during closed fishing season
  • purse seine vessels engaged in anchovy fishing

Access to sport fishing activities is regulated by Fisheries Regulation No. 22223and Notification on amateur fishing. Turkish citizen must obtain a fishing licence while foreigners residing in Turkey may be granted a Guest Amateur Fisherman Licence.

Foreign vessels are not allowed to take part in commercial fishing activities. They can be only authorized for recreational or scientific purposes.

Relevant GFCM Decisions on this subject

Main fisheries laws and regulations

Conservation and control measures

Although fisheries management plans have been prepared by the Ministry of Development, these have not enforced yet. Fisheries generally is regulated through technical regulations.

Restrictions apply on fisheries resources

Area and time restrictions

General area prohibitions are established (Notification 2/1, Art. 20) whether in the Mediterranean Sea (Art. 20, al.2), the Aegean Sea (Art. 20, al.3), the Marmara Sea (Art. 20, al. 4), or the Black Sea (Art. 20, al.5). Specific fishing restrictions in terms of area and seasons are also provided for trawling (Art. 3); bottom trawling (Art .4); and midwater trawling activities (Art. 5). Fishing of dolphin fish is banned from January 1 to August 14 (Notification 2/1 Regulating Commercial Fishing, Art. 22 par. 4).

Minimum sizes

The Turkish legislation established the following commercial minimum sizes (Fisheries Regulation 22223, Art. 15):

Species Name in Latin Minimum Length* (cm) Minimum Weight* (gr)
1- Octopus Octopus vulgaris 1000
2- Golden-carpet Shell Tapes decussatus 2.4
3- Leer fish Lichia amia 30
4- Red mullet Mullus barbatus 13
5- Whiting Merluccius merluccius 25
6- Gilthead sea bream Sparus auratus 15
7- Crawfish Palinurus vulgaris 20
8- Common sole Solea solea 20
9- Anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus 9
10- Lobster Homarus gammarus 25
11- Horse mackerel

Horse mackerel (horse mackerel)

Trachurus trachurus

Trachurus mediterraneus

12- Oyster Ostrea edulis 6
13- Turbot Scophthalmus maximus

Scophthalmus rhombus

Scophthalmus maeotica

14- Bream Diplodus sargus 15
15- Grey mullet

(Mullet pylengas)

Mugil so-iuy 35
16- Grey Mullet

(Golden Grey Mullet)

Liza aurata 30
17- Grey Mullet

(Striped mullet)

Mugil cephalus 30
18- Grey Mullet

(Other grey mullets)



Chelon labrosus

Liza ramada

Liza saliens

19- Swordfish Xiphias gladius 130
20- Tub gurnard Chelidonichthys lucerna 18
21- Warty venus Venüs verrucosa 3
22- Chub mackerel Scomber japonicus 18
23- Tellina Donax trunculus 2.5
24- Waker Epinephelus aeneus 30
25- Seabass Dicentrarchus labrax 18
26- Largescaled scorpionfish Scorpaena scrofa 15
27- Bluefish Pomatomus saltatrix 14
28- Blue crap Callinectes sapidus 8
29- Pandora

(Red coral)

Pagellus erythrinus 15
30- Mussel

(Striped venuz)

Chamelea gallina 1.7
31- Corb Umbrina cirrosa 25
32- Goldband goatfish Upeneus moluccensis 10
33- Grouper Epinephelus guaza 40
34- Bonito Sarda sarda 25
35- Sand Dab Pleuronectes spp. 20
36- Greater Amberjack Seriola dumerili 30
37- Meagre Argyrosomus regius 25
38- Common dentex Dentex dentex 20
39- Mullet Mullus surmuletus 11
40- Skipjack Tuna (Tuna) Thunnus thynnus 90
41- Mackerel Scomber scombrus 20 30 **
42- Albacore Thunnus alalunga 60
43- Little Tunny Euthynus alletteratus 45

Protected species

Catching or collecting species listed in the table below are prohibited in all Turkish waters, subject to exception provided for under international contracts (Fisheries Regulation No. 22223, Art. 6).

Species Name in Latin Species Name in latin
Spring fish (local name: Beni balığı) Cyprinion macrostamus Starfish Asterina pancerii
Sandbar shark Carcharhinus plumbeus Spider crab Maia squinado
Deniz alası Salmo trutta labrax Sturgeon Acipencer sp
Deniz atı Hippocampus hippocampus Minare
Caretta caretta Caretta caretta Misk ahtapotu Elodone moschata
Caretta caretta Chelonia mydas Mühreler Lamellaridae
Caretta caretta Dermachelys coricea Grass Carp Ctenopharyngodon idella
Caretta caretta Trionyx triunguis Ocean sunfish Mola mola
Abalone Haliotis lamellosa Pen shell Pinna nobilis
Seagrass Posidonia oceanica Şeytan minaresi Gourmya yulgata
Zostera nolti Black coral Gerardia savaglia
Silver carp Hypophthalmichtys molitriks Triton Charonia lampas
Elephant ear sponge Spongia agaricina Commercial Sponges Spongia officinalis
Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus Commercial Sponges Spongia agaricina
Basking shark Cetorhimus maximus Commercial Sponges Hippospongia communis
Horned octopus Elodone cirrhosa Lickers (Strikers) Garra rufa
Red coral Corallium rubrum Dolphin Delphinidae

The fishing of the following species is also regulated: shrimping (Fisheries Regulation No. 22223, Art. 7); sea shell and sea cucumber landing (Fisheries Regulation No. 22223, Art. 8); crawfish, lobster, octopus and blue crab harvesting (Fisheries Regulation No. 22223, Art. 9), bivalve molluscs harvesting (Fisheries Regulation 22223, Art 10); turbot, swordfish, grouper, golden grouper, sole and sand dab landing (Fisheries Regulation No. 22223, Art. 11); bonito, large bonito, tuna fish, little tunny, albacore, plain bonito, leer fish, greater amberjack and pilchard landing, anchovy and dolphin fish (Fisheries Regulation No. 22223, Art.12).

Prohibitions are also imposed on the collecting and the harvesting of algae (Fisheries Regulation 22223, Art.13) and sponges (Fisheries Regulation 22223, Art.14).

Relevant GFCM Decisions on this subject

Fishing gear and methods

The Turkish legislation (Fisheries Regulation No. 22223) regulates in particular the use of surrounding nets (Art. 16); light fishing (Art. 17); and seine nets, gillnets and other fishing nets (Art. 18). Mesh size of cod-end in trawl nets should be 44 mm (diamond) or 40 mm (square). The use of drift-net is also prohibited (Art. 21.k). At least a 40mm mesh size opening for the whole demersal trawl cod-end is implemented and the use of deep trawl nets fisheries at depths beyond 1000 m of depth is prohibited in accordance (Notification 2/1 Regulating Commercial Fishing, Art.10 (ç-2) and (ç-7)).

Requirements due to fishing vessels

The authorities involved in the monitoring, control and surveillance operations are (Fisheries Law No. 1380, Art. 33):

  • Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock
  • Coast Guard Command
  • Gendarmerie
  • Customs and forestry institutions
  • Municipal Police


The Fishery Information System records fishing vessels, fishers’ licences and specific fishing permissions. It also allows registrations, cancellations and renewals.

Relevant GFCM Decisions on this subject

Reporting obligation

Fishing vessels of 12 m LOA and over are required to maintain logbooks as well as vessel fishing baby clams, irrespective of their lentgh (Fisheries Law No. 1380, Art. 28; Notification 2/1 Regulating Commercial Fishing, Art. 26 par. 2). They include details of the catches by gear type and zone. Landing declaration contains landing on port arrival data and information on transhipment. Logbooks and landing declarations are recorded in a “Fishery Information system”, which allows, inter alia, comparison of catch amounts and reporting information to national agencies, ICCAT, FAO and European Union.

Relevant GFCM Decisions on this subject


Fishing vessels are given a licence number, which must be visibly written on the vessel (Notification 1/1, Art. 35. 12).

Landing of catch

Relevant GFCM Decisions on this subject

Vessel Monitoring System

Bluefin tuna catching and towing vessels shall be required. Ship-owners/operators of the bluefin tuna catching, towing and support vessels shall be required to install Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) (Notification 2/1 Regulating Commercial Fishing, Art. 21-3(a)) and to comply with the technical specifications and usage of the VMS device (Circular Order No.48, Art. 3 and Annex 2). AIS (Automatic Identification System) is compulsory for vessels longer than 15 m.

Relevant GFCM Decisions on this subject


Enforcement agents are empowered to confiscate products in the event of illegal activities, as well as the fishing gear and equipment involved (Fisheries Regulation No. 22223, Art. 33).

Turkish legislation prescribes a wide range of fines and penalties, depending on the severity of the offense, such as:

  • fishing without licence: fine from 10 000 up to 25 000 Turkish Liras; non-presentation of fishing licence upon request: fine from 5 000 up to 10 000 Turkish Liras (Fisheries Law No. 1380, Art. 36.a);
  • fishing by foreign vessels: imprisonment from 2 years up to 4 years, seizure of the aquatic product and the gear used (Fisheries Law No. 1380, Art. 36.e);
  • violation of bottom-trawling restrictions: in case of non-compliance with legal minimum sizes: imprisonment for 1 year up to 3 years and a fine from 2 000 000 up to 6 000 000 Turkish Liras (doubled in case of repeated offense), seizure of the aquatic products (Fisheries Law No. 1380, Art. 36.h).
  • non-compliance with legal minimum sizes: imprisonment for 1 year up to 3 years and a fine from 2 000 000 up to 6 000 000 Turkish Liras (doubled in case of repeated offense), seizure of the aquatic products (Fisheries Law No. 1380, Art. 36.h, para. 2).
  • knowingly selling, transporting or processing prohibited catches: fine from 20 000 up to 100 000 Turkish Liras, seizure of the aquatic products (Fisheries Law No. 1380, Art. 36.i).

Relevant GFCM Decisions on this subject
REC. GFCM/33/2009/8 on the establishment of a list of vessels presumed to have carried out IUU fishing in the GFCM area

Principal Legal Measures on Monitoring, Control and Surveillance

Landing of catch
Vessel Monitoring System (VMS)
Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated fishing (IUU)



Administrative authorizations and license

Main aquaculture laws and regulations

Relevant GFCM Decisions on this subject

Sources:LaMed Questionnaire.FAOLEX

FAOLEX: http://faolex.fao.org/fishery/index.htm