Beneath the swirling currents of the Bosphorus, a silver-blue streak slices through the water. This is no ordinary fish, but a creature of legend and history, the bluefish.

For millennia, this sleek predator has navigated the strategic waterways between Europe and Asia, its powerful jaws snapping up unsuspecting prey. From the time of Homeric myths to the bustling modern cities of Istanbul and Dardanelles, the bluefish has witnessed the rise and fall of empires, the clash of cultures, and the ever-changing tides of human history. And in almost all seas of the world; Bluefish is just one of the most common fish you can find in the world.

Taxonomic place and specifications of bluefish

The Latin name of the Bluefish, which is in the Pomatomidae family, is Pomatomus saltatrix. It has a large, blunt head at the end of its long, slightly spindle-shaped body. Its teeth are quite sharp. One of the most important features that distinguish the bluefish from other fish is its large and forked tail and unique color. It is this silvery-blue color that gives the fish its name. It is found in almost all seas in the world, finding habitat in bays, estuaries and the shores of reefs. It is a carnivorous fish and a species especially sought after in sport hunting.

Have you ever thought about what makes this fish so special? Its body, adorned with iridescent scales, seems to dance with the sunlight as it cuts through the water. Its large, sharp teeth, like miniature daggers, hint at its fearsome nature. And its relentless pursuit of prey has earned it the nickname "the chopper" among fishermen.

Beyond its physical attributes, the bluefish holds a unique place in the underwater ecosystem. As a top predator, it plays a vital role in maintaining the balance of marine life. Its presence ensures the health and diversity of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, a crucial waterway for countless species.

Giving different names to different sizes of the same fish is not unique to Bluefish. This fish is also known by names such as bayleaf, chinekop, yellowfin, cofana and sirtikara at different stages of its life.

Adventure between two seas

The bluefish is a wanderer, following the currents and seasons in a grand migration between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. This journey is a fascinating dance of survival, driven by the need for food and ideal breeding conditions.

As the Black Sea warms in May and June, the bluefish awakens from its winter slumber. The plankton-rich waters become an irresistible feast, triggering a massive migration towards the Marmara Sea. This influx of hungry predators creates a feeding frenzy that benefits the entire ecosystem. 

After spring months, the bluefish thrives in the abundant waters of the Marmara Sea throughout the summer months. They feed relentlessly, fattening themselves up for the long journey ahead and preparing for the most important event of their lives: spawning.

As the days grow shorter and temperatures begin to drop in September, the bluefish receives its second call to adventure. Driven by an internal compass and the urge to procreate, they embark on a return journey towards the Black Sea.

Reaching the Black Sea in October and November, the bluefish find the perfect environment for spawning. Protected from predators and with an abundance of food, they lay their eggs and ensure the continuation of their lineage. Once spawning is complete, the bluefish retreat to deeper waters. The Black Sea's colder temperatures induce a period of dormancy, allowing them to conserve energy and prepare for the cycle to begin anew in the spring.

This annual migration is not a simple straight shot. Bluefish are opportunistic feeders, and their route can vary depending on food availability and ocean currents. They often follow schools of smaller fish, creating a dynamic spectacle of movement within the seas.

An important figure in mythology: Bluefish beyond history

Throughout history, the bluefish has been a source of sustenance and fascination. Ancient Greeks believed it possessed the spirit of a warrior, while Ottoman sultans considered it a delicacy fit for royalty. Today, it continues to be a prized catch for recreational fishermen and a vital component of local coastal economies.

Bluefish is an important figure in mythology. The first of these is about Poseidon, one of the Greek gods. Some interpretations associate the bluefish with Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. They draw parallels between the fish's swiftness and power with Poseidon's chariot drawn by horses. This association suggests that the bluefish was seen as a creature of the sea with a divine connection.

As I mentioned before, Bluefish is a predatory and aggressive fish. The bluefish's fierce predatory nature likely earned it admiration in ancient Greece. Its sharp teeth and relentless pursuit of prey would have been seen as symbols of strength and courage, qualities highly valued by the Greeks.

The bluefish's abundance and deliciousness may have led to its inclusion in offerings to the gods. In some accounts, fishermen presented their catches of bluefish to deities like Poseidon and Athena as a sign of respect and gratitude for a successful harvest.

The unpredictable migration patterns of the bluefish could have been interpreted as omens of change by the Greeks. Their sudden arrival or departure could have been seen as signals of good or bad fortune, depending on the circumstances.

In Maori mythology, the bluefish, known as "kahawai" is associated with the god Tangaroa, the lord of the sea. Some legends depict the kahawai as messengers of Tangaroa, carrying messages and warnings between the ocean and the human world. Others link the fish to the spirits of ancestors, ensuring their safe passage between realms.

In Japanese folklore, the bluefish, known as "aozora" is sometimes depicted as a creature capable of transformation. Some stories tell of fishermen encountering bluefish that morph into humans, often offering wisdom or fulfilling wishes before returning to the sea. These tales highlight the mystical connection between humans and the natural world.

The bluefish held significant importance for various indigenous communities in North America. Some tribes, like the Wampanoag, viewed the bluefish as a symbol of abundance and prosperity. They incorporated the fish into their rituals and ceremonies, seeking its blessings for a bountiful harvest and good fortune.

While not specifically focused on the bluefish, Celtic mythology often features fish as guardians of the sea and protectors of travelers. The bluefish's speed and strength might have aligned it with these mythical creatures, earning it respect and reverence in Celtic cultures.

The problem is not solved for anyone: The future of Bluefish

Yet, the shadow of uncertainty hangs over the future of this iconic fish. Overfishing and habitat degradation threaten its population, leaving a void that could ripple through the entire ecosystem.

Let us remember the bluefish not just as a delicious meal or a fierce predator, but as a living symbol of our past, a testament to the enduring resilience of life, and a reminder of our shared responsibility to protect the wonders of the natural world.

We cannot separate the measures we will take to protect the future of this fish from other marine criteria. We have to take some precautions in order to provide the benefits we get from the sea today to future generations. Some examples of these can be listed as follows:

Choose seafood certified by organizations like the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). These organizations ensure that fisheries and fish farms comply with strict environmental and social standards. 

Complying with fishing laws and quotas can be achieved by adhering to catch limits and hunting regulations, helping to prevent overfishing of certain species.

Fish are egg-laying creatures and they usually hide their eggs at the bottom of the water where they live from predators who want to eat them. Raise awareness about destructive and destructive practices such as bottom trawling and dynamite hunting, which damage the underwater structure, and oppose the implementation of these methods.