Fish, Pelagic

Depending on the time of year and the availability of food there are many migratory fish that visit the region at different times, taking advantage of the fluctuating availability of food, the most common are listed here.

BARRACUDA (family: Sphyraenidae)

A fearsome predator, the BARRACUDA (Sphyraena sphyraena) certainly looks the part, and this is perhaps the reason for the myth that that they are dangerous to divers. Attacks on swimmers or divers are extremely rare. They are attracted to shiny objects and the attention they pay to divers and swimmers is usually one of curiosity rather than as a potential meal.

Barracuda are are long and streamlined with silvery blue grey scales and a distinctively large mouth displaying a fearsome array of needle sharp teeth. They are a shoaling fish as juveniles but become lone hunters when mature, reaching up to 2 meters in length. Most sightings of barracuda in Turkish waters are of fairly large shoals numbering sometimes hundreds with individuals rarely exceeding 50cms in length.

SHARKS (family: Carcharhinidae)

What were believed to be white-tip sharks, (Carcharhinus albimarginatus) have on very rare occasions been sighted by divers along the Aegean coast, singly and in groups of up to five individuals. Each sighting was close to the shore at a depth of around 25 meters and often after several stormy days of strong southerly winds. They were not aggressive, showing little interest in the divers, and disappeared from the area after only a few days.

TRIGGER FISH (Balistes carolinensis)

A rare visitor to Turkish waters the triggerfish can very occasionally be seen near rocks or hiding in crevices. They have a deep, ovoid shaped body with a large first dorsal fin followed closely a second. A third large rear dorsal fin is matched by a smaller anal fin. These fins are moved in unison but in opposite directions, giving the triggerfish a very distinctive swimming action. Their color is variable ranging from green brown blue and they rarely exceed 25cms in length.

TUNA (family: Scombridae)

Possibly the ultimate hunting fish, and unlike other fish the tuna has developed the ability to generate and retain heat enabling its muscles to operate at very high efficiency. They have a large proportion of oxygen and carbohydrate enriched muscle, giving them a very efficient aerobic metabolism. Fishes usually lose heat through through their gills during respiration but the tunas’ countercurrent heat exchange system re-cycles the heat like a marine turbocharger. This makes them formidable high speed predators, able to attain speeds of up to 76kph (47mph).

Some species do not have the ability to move their gills and rely solely on the ‘ram jet ventilator’ effect of water flowing over their gills as they swim.

Tuna are a migratory fish and are more often only found in open water or around offshore reefs. Although there are many species of tuna only a few can be seen here , usually from around September and during the winter when the availability of food is higher. The tuna is a voracious feeder and requires as much as a quarter of its body weight of food per day. If there are tuna around and you see shoals of smaller fish suddenly move as one mass close to the rocks, then look out for a tuna making a lightning pass, like a frenzied torpedo.