Shoals of deadly poisonous fugu fish spotted near Turkish beaches

Another challenge for Turkey, in addition to natural fires, was the appearance of shoals of deadly poisonous fugu fish. Previously, this species only lived in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Local fishermen have been charged extra for destroying the fish. But coping isn’t easy.

Every morning, dozens of Turkish sailors head out into the open sea from Marmaris Bay. A significant part of the catch is balon balik. Translated from the Turkish word for fugu fish. It is becoming more and more common in the Mediterranean Sea. Earlier it was found only in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Now it invades new territories, and rapidly.

Not far from the picturesque beaches of Marmaris and Bodrum – schools of poisonous fish. And this is not the coast of Antalya, which the Turkish authorities call a fugu habitat, but more than 300 kilometers to the west. Bayram Kurtçu is a hereditary fisherman with whom the VGTRK correspondent goes fishing. The fishermen spent about an hour on the open sea. The weather turned bad, the wind and high waves rose. Bairam decided to return. Fugu are down here at a depth of 50 meters. But it’s hard to catch it on the line. It simply chews it up. It’s easy to chew through the line with those teeth. The fish even eats carrots with gusto. One touch to the entrails of dressed fish by hand without gloves is enough to affect the nervous system with the poison it contains – tetrodotoxin. An effective antidote to the poisoning still does not exist.

There should be no puffer fish off the Turkish coast. But the reason is the Suez Canal. When it was dug, saltier water from the Red Sea began to flow into the Mediterranean. Along with it, tropical dwellers swim north.

Turkish fishermen are promised money for every fugue they catch. For the tail of the silver puffer fish, the most poisonous of the eight species of fugu found in the Mediterranean Sea, they pay five liras – about fifty rubles. In practice, however, it’s a day’s walk across the sea to the nearest fugu reception point.

“At one time I pull out up to 30-40 pieces. Reception points are all empty talk. We kill it and throw it into the sea, because if the coast guard sees me with this fish, there will be problems,” says fisherman Mamet Kodzhairi.

The water temperature in the Mediterranean Sea rises from year to year. The conditions are ideal for fugu. The fish are taking over local ecosystems and are already hitting commercial species. It simply eats other sea creatures. Moreover, fugu is not afraid of people at all. It swims up to beaches and embankments.

Dorado, trout, sea bass, various seafood – and all the freshest. This is one of the biggest fish markets on the coast. You can find everything except fugu. No one cooks this fish here-it’s too dangerous. Cutting fugu can be compared to the work of a jeweler. In Japan, fugu is a gourmet item worth up to five hundred dollars, but in Turkey, fugu has been banned after a string of poisonings.

“It is forbidden to cook fugu in Turkish restaurants. We’re not even allowed to keep it in the refrigerator. There was a case in Bodrum. They cooked fugu there, but people ended up in the hospital after that dinner!” – Chef Suleyman Aydın said.

The main threat is the rapid reproduction of puffer fish. One female can lay up to three million eggs. If at first the fugu was found off the very southern coast of Turkey, today it is found a thousand kilometers away – in Izmir. And there is a danger that in a few years there will be nothing to catch but fugu.

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