The specific objectives of this trip are as follows:
a) Write and sign a memorandum of understanding between the project partners.
b) Develop and write the content for a main application to the Darwin Initiative.
c) Explore opportunities for developing a freshwater fish conservation curriculum and ex situ fish conservation facility within Hacettepe University, through meetings with relevant personnel.
d) Conduct a two day site visit to Burdur Gölü. This is an example of a watershed with a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) established by Doğa Derneği that currently does not include freshwater fish. Meetings with community leaders and local government will be carried out to assess the steps required to incorporate freshwater fish into these management frameworks. An assessment of the opportunity to replicate this model to other sites across Turkey will also be conducted.
e) Review current biodiversity conservation education programmes through meetings with participating schools and communities. The opportunities to develop an awareness programme for endemic fish in Turkey will be evaluated, including the most effective approaches.
f) Conduct a five day survey of Lake Acigöl in the endemic-rich lake region of south-central Turkey. This lake is home to several critically endangered and threatened freshwater fish species. The pilot project would look to use existing methodology to conduct a rapid assessment of the threats to this lake’s fish fauna and associated habitats, determine the most appropriate sampling methodologies, conduct training for team members, collect data on water quality. This trip will also potentially conduct a rescue collection of three fish species that are currently considered on the point of extinction, if the assessment demonstrates this is necessary.
g) Plan and structure a facility at Hacettepe University for holding populations of rescued freshwater fish that can be used to respond to extinction crises with native species. The University has committed to hold these species in dedicated facilities and ZSL will provide training and provide husbandry manuals.