Traditional Fisheries

For over thousands of years, fish and seafood from the Mediterranean Sea has been an important part of the diet of local coastal communities, with each region developing their own unique fishing techniques adapted to their particular environments.

These traditional fishing techniques can often be seen in areas containing high levels of biodiversity – lagoons, gulfs, estuaries, coastal areas – which are home to native marine and plant species, and are critical sites for birds. The local fishermen have been known to form mutually beneficial relationships with their fishing areas, avoiding the over-harvesting of fish and seafood through sustainable fishing techniques, and representing an outstanding wealth of traditional ecological knowledge.

Some of the fishing techniques still alive in the Mediterranean today, and whose fishermen still wish to continue their way of life are: Dalyancılık (Turkish Traditional Trap Fishing), Ivari or Divar (Greek Traditional Trap Fishing), El Bhira (Tunisian Traditional Lagoon Fishing) and Artisanal Fishing in Lebanon.

Dalyancılık (Turkish Traditional Trap Fishing)

Found along the coastal lagoons of Turkey’s Mediterranean shores, dalyancılık has been practiced for centuries and is one of the country’s most ancient fish techniques.

The method involves setting up traps made of sticks and nets in order to catch fish of a specific size. This means that very young fish and fish eggs are spared and ensures that the practice is sustainable. Additionally, the set up of the trap allows for a certain number of fish to escape the nets, thereby preventing overfishing.

Although the opening and closing seasons for each lagoon differs slightly, dalyancılık is in harmony with the natural seasonal cycles, as the traps are set up at the same time every year and coincide with the migration of fish from lagoons to the open sea.

Ivari or Divari (Greek Traditional Trap Fishing)

Ivari is a traditional fishing technique that uses permanent barrier traps to capture fish during their seasonal offshore and onshore migration. Acting as a natural fish farm the Ivari is, to this day, still largely managed based on the traditional ecological knowledge of fishermen.

In the Messolonghi – Aitoliko lagoon, ten local fishing cooperatives lease the twelve Ivari designated areas within the lagoon which have been based in the same locations since 1826. The permanent entrapment devices consist of wooden sticks hammered into the lakebed that currently sustain plastic rather than the locally made reed nets used in the past.

Dalyancılık (Turkish Traditional Trap Fishing)

Found along the coastal lagoons of Turkey’s Mediterranean shores, dalyancılık has been practiced for centuries and is one of the country’s most ancient fish techniques.

The method involves setting up traps made of sticks and nets in order to catch fish of a specific size. This means that very young fish and fish eggs are spared and ensures that the practice is sustainable. Additionally, the set up of the trap allows for a certain number of fish to escape the nets, thereby preventing overfishing.

Although the opening and closing seasons for each lagoon differs slightly, dalyancılık is in harmony with the natural seasonal cycles, as the traps are set up at the same time every year and coincide with the migration of fish from lagoons to the open sea.

Ivari or Divari (Greek Traditional Trap Fishing)

Ivari is a traditional fishing technique that uses permanent barrier traps to capture fish during their seasonal offshore and onshore migration. Acting as a natural fish farm the Ivari is, to this day, still largely managed based on the traditional ecological knowledge of fishermen.

In the Messolonghi – Aitoliko lagoon, ten local fishing cooperatives lease the twelve Ivari designated areas within the lagoon which have been based in the same locations since 1826. The permanent entrapment devices consist of wooden sticks hammered into the lakebed that currently sustain plastic rather than the locally made reed nets used in the past.

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