The food composition of whiting, Merlangius merlangus, caught around the sea-cage fish farms off the coast of Perşembe, was analysed and compared with the diet of whiting from a control site off the coast of Fatsa (Ordu Province, south-eastern Black Sea). A total of 815 stomach samples were collected during the study, and of these, 195 (23.9%) were empty. According to the percentage of relative importance index (IRI%), pellet food (47.8%) and Annelida (25%) were the main prey groups of whiting in the sea-cage fish farms area, while unidentified teleost (85.3%) and Engraulis encrasicolus (8.2%) were dominant in the control site. The other prey groups in both areas were Crustaceans (Mysidae, Amphipoda, Upogebia sp.), Sprattus sprattus and Gobius spp. Seasonally, pellet food was the most consumed food in all seasons, but Mysidae was the first preference of whiting around the sea-cage fish farms in spring. In the control site, unidentified teleost was the first preference in all seasons, except winter, where E. encrasicolus was the first choice, followed by crustaceans and S. sprattus in winter. Bray–Curtis analysis shows that seasonally, there is no significant difference in the sea-cage fish farms, while there is significant difference in the control site, and two-dimensional nMDS of IRI% revealed a clear separation between both sites. SIMPER analysis revealed that the most contributing factors to the differences between seasons were pellet food in the sea-cage fish farms, and E. encrasicolus in the control site.