Turkey has taken action to open its aquaculture to oysters. This was announced by İbrahim Yumaklı, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, who also stressed that this species has a large share of the global aquaculture market.
The idea is to start with cultivation in those seas of the country where oysters live naturally but are endangered, such as the Marmara and the Black Sea. The project plans to establish more than 10 farms within 5 years to produce between 5,000 and 10,000 tons at a value of around USD 100 million (EUR 94 million).
"We plan to start oyster farming, especially in suitable areas, by evaluating the demand from the industry. In this way, oysters, which exist naturally in the Marmara and Black Sea but are endangered, will be brought back to our resources," said Minister Yumaklı. "We aim to generate income for our country by improving our farming of other aquatic products, as well as fish, of which we capture a significant amount for export."
With a production of 6 million tons worldwide, according to data provided by the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, oyster farming has a market valued at approximately USD 9 billion (EUR 8 billion). According to their studies, they plan to establish more than 10 production farms in Turkey within five years and produce 5,000 to 10,000 tons of production there, which they estimate could generate revenues approaching USD 100 million (EUR 94 million).
As the Hellenic Aquaculture Producers Organization (HAPO) 2022 annual report recently pointed out, Turkey's competition in Mediterranean finfish aquaculture is increasing. Its growing production and the devaluation of the Turkish lira made its products very competitive and favored its market penetration last year. Now, the country wants to follow suit with bivalves and, in addition to its already incipient industry with mussels, to add oysters to compete with other producing countries France, Spain, China, Australia, and New Zealand.
In this context, the Ministry has organized a Workshop on the Development of Bivalve Farming in cooperation with the General Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture and FAO. "We will evaluate the outcomes of the workshop, create our road map as the Ministry, and push the button to start oyster production in our country as soon as possible," stated Minister İbrahim Yumaklı.
The Minister stated that oysters are, like mussels, another bivalve that occupies an important place in the global aquaculture market and stressed that like them, they also do not consume fresh water and can be cultivated without feed. Mussel farming started in Turkey in 2015 and currently achieves an annual production of 5,500 tons.
"Within the scope of the studies we initiated to evaluate the potential of our country in the field of aquaculture, we have come a long way in mussel cultivation. We make support payments for mussel farming, which we include within the scope of incentives. In addition, we have reached a capacity of 50 thousand tons in mussel cultivation in Sinop, Bursa, Yalova, Balıkesir, İzmir, Muğla and Çanakkale in our country," said İbrahim Yumaklı. "We continue our work with determination to use this capacity and increase our production amount," he concluded.