A meeting hosted by Fethiye’s Chamber of Commerce was urged not to support long-term plans to increase the marina capacity along the town’s shoreline until problems in the bay have been resolved.

Up to 11 new marinas offering berths to more than 750 vessels are already included in a development programme first drafted in 2008, submitted in 2012 and then given the approval of the Prime Minister’s office in 2016.

However, last summer’s algal blooms have since prompted considerable concern about the current ecological condition of local waters around Fethiye.

Solutions first

As a result – at a three-hour meeting attended by boat tour operators, port officials, nature conservation organisations, and Fethiye Council representatives – it was suggested solutions should come before any more development.

The current proposals – which included a berthing point for cruise liners – are reported to have already come through scrutiny by experts who have considered prevailing sea currents and winds, as well as the design of both the marinas themselves and the new access routes which would be necessary.

However, that was before algal blooms turned the sea pea-green from the Kordon, the harbour – and even at times from Çalış Beach – between May and August this year.

Algal bloom in Fethiye
The algal bloom which prompted concern over water purity in Fethiye Bay this summer

Mid-level issue

An initial 1,000,000TL has already been pledged to prevent a repeat and a request for an additional 290,000,000TL has been sent to the Treasury to help cover the cost of more long-term solutions.

In the meantime, the mayor’s office and boat tour representatives are among those suggesting marina development plans ought to be put on hold.

“We cannot afford to get this wrong; it could destroy Fethiye’s tourism,” said Twelve Islands and Bays Marine Engineers Cooperative president, Güven Altüg. “At the moment, the symptoms we are seeing in Fethiye Bay are of a mid-level issue. If it gets worse, then the sea could go brown and there could even be a risk of a smell.

“What we need to do is be sure where the effluent is coming from, work out ways of limiting it and then dredging the bay so it can breathe. More building now would not be the right thing to do.

“We recognise that the argument for building new marinas is to prevent uncontrolled and widespread unregulated use of our waters but, if we want people to use them, then they must be practical and affordable.

“Our concern is that, quite naturally, the developers will want a return on their investment. However, if the berthing fees are beyond what most boat owners can afford, then it’s not really going to solve the problem at all.”

Gulets reflected in the calm blue sea at Fethiye marina

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