A member of the Cyprinidae family, the Chalcalburnus tarichi is a fish species that only inhabits the Lake Van Basin. The Lake Van represents an interesting ecosystem in the world, known as the biggest soda lake in the world, in that its water is highly alkaline with a pH of 9.8. C. tarichi has bright-silver color, its back is grayish green, and the abdominal region is silver. Its body is covered with small scales, and its eyes are large. It feeds on phyto and zooplanktons. Its average life span is 7 years, and the fish reaches reproductive maturity at 3 years old. C. tarichi is an diadrom fish that lives in the lake, but during the reproduction period it immigrates to the surrounding freshwater rivers returning after the reproduction period of April–July. In the past, pearl mullet was an attractive fresh fish for the local people and was easily caught during the spawning migration, resulting in over-fishing. The species was one of the highly endangered animals of Turkey before conservation studies, some 10 years ago, have started. At present, illegal fishing activities declined, although some locals are continuing to fish during the spawning season.
ChalcalburnustarichiLake Van Alkaline environment Diadrom fish Pearl mullet