Bosphorus Bluefish

Description and Distinguishing Features of Bosphorus Bluefish:

Bosphorus Bluefish is the flesh of the Pomatomus saltatrix species, a member of the Pomatomidae family, caught and grown in the waters between the northern Turkisheli Lighthouse (Rumeli) and the Anatolian Lighthouse in the north of the Istanbul Strait; and the lines connecting Ahırkapı Lighthouse and Kadıköy İnciburnu Pier Lighthouse in the south. It has dual dorsal fins, a yellowish fin color, a slightly flattened body shape from the sides, and green-gray on the back and sides, while its belly is silver-white. The gill covers of the Bosphorus Bluefish are scaly, and there are no scales on its head. It has a strong jaw with teeth in its palate. Bosphorus Bluefish is sold fresh and is typically consumed grilled, steamed, in pilaki, or fried.

Bosphorus Bluefish

Bosphorus Bluefish lives and is caught within the geographical boundaries at depths ranging from 10 to 200 meters. It is predominantly fished between October and January. The minimum catchable size is 18 cm, and individual weight should be at least 150 g. Bosphorus Bluefish usually feeds on fresh anchovies, mullets, and smelts. The geographical boundary of the Bosphorus, with its strong currents, cold water, and abundant oxygen, provides a suitable environment for the reproduction of Bosphorus Bluefish. The spawning season occurs from late spring to the beginning of summer, during which it lays gradually 60,000-80,000 eggs. It enters the hibernation period from mid-summer to fall, and its fat content increases from October to May. The average fat content is 9.61/100 g.

Bosphorus Bluefish, which has been present in the Istanbul Strait for many years, is mentioned in various historical sources of the Ottoman Empire.

Production Method:

Bosphorus Bluefish is the flesh of the Pomatomus saltatrix species, a member of the Pomatomidae family, caught and grown within the geographical boundaries. Various methods are employed for the fishing of Bosphorus Bluefish within these geographical limits. The methods are detailed below.

In the baited fishing rod method used for the fishing of Bosphorus Bluefish, methods such as trolling rigs and mushroomed bottom rigs are preferred. Trolling rigs are used for nighttime boat fishing, while mushroomed bottom rigs are more commonly used in shore fishing. During the fishing season, which begins with the migration of Bosphorus Bluefish, daytime fishing boats patrol the likely areas where fish can be caught to locate them. Equipped with a lookout made of glass known as the "mirror" mounted on the lower part of the boat, which is continuously monitored by fishermen, the intense areas where Bosphorus Bluefish are located are identified. When a suitable school is found for fishing, the net, which has been precisely set at the stern of the boat, is quickly released into the sea, completing the process of rapid circling. Then, using a buoy, noise is created to guide the fish towards the net. The net is lifted from the sea with the help of a hydraulic winch at the front of the boat, completing the fishing process.

In nighttime fishing, the lookout in front of the boat, which is moving slowly, lights and extinguishes a lantern towards the sea, observing the phosphorescence created by the fish. When a suitable school is identified, the net is rapidly released into the sea, forming a circle. After the net is dropped, flashes are created either with a buoy or a lamp inside the net (by turning the light on and off), ensuring that the fish get entangled in the net.

The Bosphorus Bluefish is caught using natural baits such as anchovies, mackerel, mullets, smelts, horse mackerel, garfish, saury, and sand smelt, either whole or cut into pieces according to their size. Smelt is the most commonly used bait for catching Bosphorus Bluefish, and its scales are cleaned before use. Other fish to be used as bait should also be fresh.

Trolling is the most traditional method for catching Bosphorus Bluefish and is generally done from a boat at night. Although it is possible to fish from a boat during the day using this method, it is more effective to fish at night with lights.

After determining the location for fishing, preferably before it gets dark, the boat heads to the identified spot, and the boat is anchored. When anchoring, the boat should be taken to the tonoz to prevent unnecessary movements caused by currents and wind. Also, by keeping the tonoz ropes long, the boat can be moved forward and backward if desired.

After preparing the bait for trolling, the rig is lowered into the water. The rig, touching the bottom, is cut about 1 meter from the bottom, and the bait is expected to attract the fish. If Bosphorus Bluefish does not bite for a long time, the tonoz should be moved back and forth to go a little shallower or a little deeper. The bite of Bosphorus Bluefish is very light, and due to its sharp teeth, when it bites the bait, it is felt as a clicking sound.