site.btaScientists Warn of Overfishing of Black Sea Species, Call for Restrictions on Fishing
Scientists of the Institute of Oceanology with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences warn of overfishing of some species in the Black Sea in a report presented in Varna on Tuesday.
They believe that restrictions on fishing should be imposed which include designating fishing areas and setting quotas or times in which fishing is allowed.
There some 130 fish species in Bulgarian waters but about 15 are of interest for fishermen, according to the report.
Between 2017-2021 rapa whelk, European sprat, soft-shell clamp, red mullet and anchovy account for 90% of the catch.
In 2023, stocks of six species were evaluated at a regional level, of which only sprat is fished sustainably.
The different kinds of pressure and especially fishing reduce apex predators, said Prof. Valentina Todorova. As instances she cited sturgeon, shark and turbot. According to the scientists the fishing grounds in Bulgarian waters are up to 100-120 m deep.
They argue that as selective fishing of some species affects the marine environment, their condition should be evaluated annually.
Nikolay Valchev, head of the Institute of Oceanology said that climate change also affects the sea. As a serious problem he pointed out the insufficient cooling of the water in winter. This limits the process of ventilation, changes salinity and the presence of oxygen in the zone that is rich in marine life. All this causes changes in the migration of the different species, and Valchev predicted that some may disappear.
The scientists carried out regional evaluations of the populations of the three species of cetaceans that live in Bulgarian waters, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin and porpoise, whose numbers vary significantly over the years. The overall conclusion is that the species are not in good shape.
The latest evaluation was carried out in 2019 from the air. It showed that there are around 10,000 bottlenose dolphins, slightly over 14,000 common dolphins and nearly 49,000 porpoises in Bulgarian waters.
All three cetacean species are on the Red List of endangered species and one of the main reasons for their deaths is that they get entangled in fishing gear.
The report was presented at an event with the participation of Environment Minister Yulian Popov at the BTA national press club in Varna.