“Those sinkers are made of lead that can dissolve in time in salty waters,” Gülşen Altuğ from Istanbul University told Demirören News Agency on March 16.
According to the expert, the lead can affect the living quarters of the fish or may harm fish’s muscles in the long run.
“When we eat those fish, that means we take in carcinogen,” she added.
“We have to instruct amateur fishers and anglers and force them to pick up their sinkers when they fall,” she said.
“Besides that, though, we have to actualize some collecting system to pick up the sinkers,” she added.
Serkan Eser, a fishing rod seller based in the Sarıyer district, raised alarm over the risk.
“When someone buys a trawl line set, he or she surely buys a lead sinker. I sell more than 100 kilograms of sinkers a month,” he said.
Saying that he is also a diver, Eser noted, “I see a lot in the seabed near the shore. Maybe there are 15 to 20 tons of sinkers only in our area. But in the open sea, I am sure there are more.”
When asked who is to be blamed for this, Eser said, “Of course amateur fishers drop sinkers more often. But even though I am a professional, even I can drop four or five.”
For fisherman, the situation is no different. “A sinker weighs 100 grams. Ten of them weigh a kilogram. I personally use a kilo of sinkers a month,” said Musa Özdemir, a fisherman from Sarıyer.
Kemal Demir, another fisherman, said he was not aware of the harms of this at all.
“I have been angling in the Istanbul Strait for 25 years. I saw no other alternatives to the sinkers.”
Hurriyet Daily News