12 fish species go extinct in lake near Istanbul
Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com
September 24, 2008
Turkey has lost twelve species of fish to pollution in Lake Sapanca. Lake Sapanca used to be one of Turkey’s most bio-diverse lakes. A decade ago the lake’s water was pristine enough to be pumped directly to Istanbul for citizen use, but due to rising pollution it no longer serves as a source for the city water.
Studies undertaken by Dr. Meric Albay, from Istanbul University Faculty of Fisheries, found that along with losing twelve species of, two more were endangered: the esox and the catfish. Albay cites a number of reasons for the extinctions, but states that pollution and a rise in the water’s salt content were the leading factors. In addition overfishing, illegal fishing, and habitat destruction have taken an toll on the lake’s wildlife.
Sedat Bicakci, Chairman of the Sakarya Fishermen’s Association, told Today Zaman that due to habitat destruction “the fish cannot find a place to leave their eggs.” Development has spread around Lake Sapanca’s shore. “Sports facilities were built on the area where the fish used to reproduce,” Bicakci says, “so long as this construction continues, no fish will be left in Lake Sapanca.”
The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey has announced that it will spend 2 million YTL (1.6 million dollars) to detect pollutants present in the lake and mitigate future pollution. The Council also applied to the EU for additional financial support to clean-up the lake. Although the lake’s water may return to its former state, twelve fish species will not be seen again.