Turkey’s Rich Below-Sea Biodiversity Under Threat

Turkey's Rich Below-Sea Biodiversity Under Threat

For many in Turkey life is centered around one of the seas and straits that wrap the coastline.

The coast draws millions of tourists each year and feeds the Turkish economy. But the rich biodiversity beneath the surface is under threat.

Bayram Ozturk, president of the Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV) is trying to catch the rest of the world’s interest.

With a new photo exhibition, he has put Turkeys marine biodiversity on display at the United Nations “to share knowledge about marine conservation and to find partners from other parts of the world, to exchange information as to how we can protect the entire ocean.”

Deep-sea mining and overfishing are changing the underwater environment and putting sea life at risk and experts say protecting high seas are an essential part of restoring the world’s ecosystem.

“High seas are important for highly migratory species because let’s say if you’re an eel, you will go to the high sea, then you will come to my river. If you cannot protect the high seas, the eel cannot enter the rivers,” Ozturk says.

The first steps to protect high seas are being made at the United Nations under international law and Turkey is pushing hard to engage other nations in the hope of protecting two-thirds of the world’s oceans from over-exploitation.”

For Turkey, protecting the ocean means protecting the country’s socio-economic development.

Feridun Sinirlioglu, Turkey’s UN Ambassador says four seas surrounding Turkey are very important for the social and economic development for Turkish people.

“Turkey is a geographically very blessed country…That’s why we need to take care of our sea and biological diversity. Sustainable development is important to us. We are trying to benefit from our seas and that’s why we continue to work on their health,” he says.

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