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ORNAMENTAL FISH SECTOR IN TURKEY

Mahmut Yanar
 
University of Çukurova, Faculty of Fisheries, Department of Aquaculture, 01330 Adana, Turkey. myanar@cu.edu.tr

The growing interest in ornamental fish has resulted in steady increase in aquarium fish trade globally. Today, with a trade volume of US $ 15-20 billion a year and an annual growth of 10%, ornamental fishery is an important business activity as well as one of the most popular hobbies in the world. In the US alone, trade volume of ornamental fishery is about US $ 2-3 billion (US $ 1 billion for fish only).  It is thought that this sector can significantly contribute to the economical development of under-developed countries, especially in the tropics. Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, India and China are leader-producing countries, while USA, Europe and Japan are the largest markets in the world. Goldfish (Carassius auratus) and guppy (Poecilia reticulata) are among the most popular fish having a high market value in the ornamental fish trade.

The close proximity to Europe, which is a large aquarium fish market, and its warm climate (especially of the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts) provide advantages for Turkey in the field of aquarium fish production. Yet, in the country, the sector still prefers importing and marketing the ornamental fish rather than production. Until year 2000, the fish were mainly imported from the far-eastern countries, particularly Singapore. Thereafter, a close neighbouring country, Syria started to dominate the market (especially goldfish). Today, by looking at official data, it is unclear to conclude the size of the ornamental fish sector and percentage of imported fish versus locally produced ones in Turkey. It is reported that the value of ornamental fish imported into the country amounts to US $ 2-3 million for the year 2013. This figure does not reflect the reality and, unofficially, it is estimated that Turkey spends about US $ 9 million for ornamental fish import per year. With some sub-sectors, this amount might goes up to US $ 13 million. The number of ornamental fish sold per year is about 40 million and the majority is imported. Among these, goldfish constitute of about 10 million while poecillids account for about 6-7 million in number. The number of produced ornamental fish in the country is estimated to be around 5 million and the majority are goldfish, guppy, cory catfish, angelfish, electric yellow and blue dolphin cichlid. There are approximately 23 ornamental fish farms, 8.000-10.000  aquarium shops and 300.000 aquarists in the country (Table 1.)  




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