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Fish farms go nowhere

TURKEY - A law that would have closed more than half of Turkey's controversial fish farms has been overturned by the Council of State in a decision to be made public later this week.

The rise of fish farming in Turkey's coastal waters over the past two decades has pitted the burgeoning industry against environmentalists and a recent law proposed moving more than 150 farms accused of fouling the sea and beaches further offshore. Just what happens next remains unclear, but the result of the decision means the farms will continue to operate at least through the current tourist season.

"We have been expecting a such decision," said Erdal Seferbay, chairman of the Aquaculture Association. "The application of the law was impossible in practice."

Environmentalists, however, labeled the decision short-sighted. "This is a long-term mistake for a short-term profit," said Bilge Contepe of the Turkish Greens movement.

The cancelled law stipulated that fish farms could not be established in protected natural and archaeological sites and in places less than 1.1 kilometers from the shore, more shallow than 30 meters and where the momentum flow was less than one meter per second.

Industry officials complained that the ministry of forestry and fisheries, which had proposed the ban, had not consulted academics or non-governmental organizations on the matter at all but the decision was presented fait accompli.

Source: Turkish Daily News