Bosphorus Fishers, Istanbul

Last Updated on May 7, 2019

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Fishing Boats on the Bosphorus, Istanbul, Turkey

Ancient Scene

This may be what Istanbul‘s Bosphorus looked like a thousand years ago, with little boats following the schools of fish as they migrated from the Black Seato the Sea of Marmara (or vice-versa).

It’s certainly what it looked like two decades ago when I shot this photo.

Today, however, I’m not sure there’s much fishing left in the Bosphorus. “Harvesting” of marine life by rapacious “factory ships” have depleted fish stocks in surrounding seas, and the remaining fish are subject to the increasing pollution of the fast-growing city as well.

Istanbul still has dozens of wonderful fish restaurants—one of the great joys of dining in this fascinating city—but most of the fish comes from much farther away.

A half century ago, fish was “the poor person’s protein.” Now it’s mostly a scarce delicacy affordable only by Turkey’s well-to-do.

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