Fishing in Turkey

Information on fishing, angling and the permits required for the fresh water rivers, lakes and dams of Turkey, as well as sea fishing off the Turkish coast. Information includes contacts for fishing associations...

Fishing is a very popular sport in Turkey and its coastal regions.

Both Turkish citizens and foreigners who want to fish must have a licence.

Fishing Areas

Some of the most popular fishing spots in Turkey include:

  • Aegean Sea
  • Black Sea
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Sea of Marmara – an inland sea. Due to pollution and uncontrolled commercial fishing aquatic life is threatened, but fish such as sea bass (levrek), red bream (çipura), comber (deniz tara??), and striped bream can still be found. Many fishermen also catch mussel, shrimp and crabs. Bluefin tuna can be caught in December and January
  • Strait of Istanbul or the Bosphorus - Bonito, bluefish, and bluefin tuna are mainly found in the Strait. September to December is the main fishing season and tourists can, if they wish, go out fishing with local fishermen in a rented boat. Alternatively, they can fish from their own boat or from the shore. Tourists who choose to fish alone, however, should pay attention to the strong current that runs in the Strait

Fishing bans

During breeding seasons, fishing is illegal in some areas; this depends on the region and type of fish. However, the fishing ban generally lasts from 1 April to 1 September.

Protected species

Black coral, cuttlefish, dolphins, sandbar sharks, sea horses, and sea turtles are protected, and it is illegal to fish them.

  • For full information about fishing ban dates and banned fish species: Click here (in Turkish)

Amateur Fisherman’s Licence/Document

Regional Directorates of Food, Agriculture and Livestock Administration are responsible for issuing the Amateur Fisherman’s Licence (Amatör Bal?kç? Belgesi). It is valid for two years and it is not necessary to carry it while fishing.

Regional Directorates of Food, Agriculture and Livestock Administration offices can be found in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. Online applications are currently not available.

  • For a full list of Directorates in Istanbul: Click here (in Turkish)

Fishing licence for foreigners (Guest Amateur Fisherman Licence/Document)

Foreigners who live in Turkey can obtain a Guest Amateur Fisherman Licence. The licence is issued by City Directorates and is valid for two years. It is more expensive than the fishing licence issued to Turkish citizens.

The following are required to obtain a licence:

  • Passport
  • Two photographs
  • Licence fee

The licence cannot be used in commercial boats or for commercial reasons - for example, making a living by fishing. Commercial fishing by foreigners is prohibited and can result in heavy penalties.

Regulations for Amateur Fishing

For amateur fishing in inland waters - Sea of Marmara, Strait of Istanbul and Strait of Dardanelles - the following regulations apply:

  • All types of fishing tackle and long nets are allowed, except for ground lines
  • Only four fishing lines can be used at one time, and the number of hooks per tackle cannot exceed six
  • All types of nets, spearguns and harpoons are prohibited except for gill nets
  • Boats must not exceed 7.5m

Amateur fishing at sea (Aegean Sea, Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea) is not allowed in the following places:

  • Marine Parks
  • Underwater caves where seals are found
  • Areas where research activities are pursued and which require a fishing permit

All types of fishing tackle, gill nets and spearguns are permitted when fishing at sea. However, the following restrictions apply:

  • Gill nets should not be more than 5m long and 1.5m high, and should not have mesh size openings of more than 28mm
  • Only four fishing lines can be used at one time
  • At night, harpoons and spearguns are not allowed
  • For further information about the regulations relating to amateur fishing: Click here (in Turkish)

Turkish Fishing Associations