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Two sides of one salmon
Sakhalin fishermen protested the impending ban on drift-net fishing in Russia
What is drift gear? This is the catch of fish by fishing vessels using smooth or, as they are often called, drift nets, which have the property of retaining fish that have touched them. Trying to pass through the net, the fish pulls the net mesh onto themselves to the fins, so it cannot move forward. When she tries to step back, she cannot take off her mesh. The cycle of the drift-fishing vessel consists of the following processes: making out nets, drifting, that is, the main process during which fish get tangled, sampling nets, freeing them from catch.
"The need to introduce a ban on the use of pelagic or smooth (drifter) networks on the routes of spawning migrations is caused by the fact that this leads to an unavoidable catch of mixed populations of different types of salmon, including spawning herds, which can lead to complete devastation of the specific spawning ground and, accordingly, To the cessation of fishing. Besides, drift-net fishing intercepts a significant part of salmon from Russian coastal enterprises, whose activity is based on fishing, and also directly damages the biological diversity of the marine ecosystem as a result of the death of seabirds and mammals, "the explanatory note to the bill says. The drafters recall that after the adoption of the UN General Assembly Resolution in 1991, drift-net fishing was banned outside the 200-mile zone of Russia, the US, Canada, Japan and the Republic of Korea.
There is another "truth": the prohibition of drift-net fishing will deprive the work of Sakhalin fishermen, only about 500 people. Minister of Agriculture of Russia Nikolay Fedorov, being last week on a business trip on Sakhalin, acknowledged that the introduction of the ban is a practically settled matter. But in this case, there is a question of compensation for damage to companies that are carrying out drift-net fishing.
"Fishermen quotas for resources for drift-net fishing were acquired legally at auctions in 2010 year," said Andrei Kovalenko, an agent for the protection of entrepreneurs' rights in the Sakhalin region. "They have concluded agreements with the state that guarantee their work for ten years. And now, in the middle of this period, they are told that their fishing may be curtailed. This creates a dangerous precedent. "
"No honest fisherman should suffer," Nikolai Fyodorov said his position. - He received state guarantees until 2020 year? Hence, the state should keep its obligations. And to achieve this is our common joint task ".
However, at the moment, the draft law banning the drift-net fishing has been sent for public examination to the regions of Russia. Kamchatka approved it one of the first: the February 17 draft law was unanimously supported by the Presidium of the Legislative Assembly of the Kamchatka Territory, Vice-Speaker of the Deputy Corps Roman Granatov said.
"It was the Kamchatka deputies in 2008 who were the first to sound the alarm when the prospect of fixing quotas for drift-net companies for 10 years arose. Then in a few days more than 20 thousand signatures against drift-net fishing were collected, - Roman Granatov said. - After all, what is Japanese and domestic drift-net fishing? This is when smooth networks, which do not miss anything living, are blocked off entire coasts. And the fish simply does not come to spawn. The juvenile are dying. Without the possibility of reproduction, the population of the world's only valuable wild Kamchatka salmon is threatened with destruction. At present, 16 Russian and 35 Japanese driftolovov expose 1600 total kilometers of networks, closing the fish access to spawn. Than it is fraught? We all remember the consequences of the drifter catastrophe that erupted in the fifties of the 20 century. Then the Japanese driftolovs inflicted irreparable damage to the economy and the marine environment of the Far East, literally scraping the fish away from the approaches to Kamchatka. On the peninsula, 30 fishermen's collective farms were ruined, 25 was super-modern for those times fish cannery, 36 fish processing bases, 23 fish processing plant and 27 settlements. It took more than 25 years to restore the ecosystem and commercial salmon volumes. "
Today Kamchatka is the leader in salmon production. Here, a quarter of all Russian catches are mined, almost 100% of valuable fish species - chinooks and sockeye salmon are reproduced here. Dozens of modern fish processing plants have been built in the region in recent years, and more than 13 billion rubles have been invested.
Sakhalin has something to answer. There, several companies are engaged in drift-net fishing of salmon, in which about 500 people work. They have their own weighty arguments in defense of this method of fishing. The catches of Pacific salmon on Sakhalin have been steadily growing in recent years. A dozen years ago in the Sakhalin region was considered a great success, if Putina brought 50 thousand tons of red fish. Today the catch of about 120 thousand tons is considered normal. According to Sakhalin fishermen, the salmon population is at the peak of the population, and there is no fatal damage to speak of. The share of drift-net fishing in the best years accounts for only 4-5 percent of the total catch of Pacific salmon in the exclusive economic zone of Russia. Due to the existing facilities with the help of drifters, it is impossible to cause fatal damage to the stocks of red fish, said Sergey Karepkin, Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Sakhalin Region, who oversees the fishing industry in the region.
"Domestic industry science does not hide that it does not have objective data that drift-net fishing causes any significant damage to the salmon population," said Sergey Karepkin. - All the frightening stories about drift-nets, supposedly destroying all living things, are based solely on information from foreign sources received from Western environmental organizations, which, as is well known, are far from always objective. Moreover, drift-net fishing is necessary. Today there are no other effective ways to determine the number of salmon in the sea, to make an accurate prediction of the catches in the forthcoming way. It is for this purpose that scientists regularly take part in expeditions using drift-nets, which are carried out by our Sakhalin fishermen. Without these forecasts, which science gives out, and the fishermen who conduct coastal fishing, can not normally plan their activities. "
“Those who are involved in the drift-net fishing know that almost 70-80% of seized fish are thrown away,” Kamchatka fish industry workers parry. “One currency-rich sockeye remains in the catch. Pink salmon, chum salmon and fish spoiled by drift nets are thrown overboard. There are statistics on the basis of which it is possible to make an elementary analysis: if in the general approaches of fish on the coast, pink salmon occupies about 80% of all salmon, then on drifter vessels it turns out that more than 70% of harvested salmon is sockeye. The figures themselves suggest the opposite - the drifter has a detrimental effect, so most fishermen oppose this barbaric fishery, ”said the chairman of the fishing farm named after him. Lenin Sergey Tarusov.
The Lenin collective farm is one of the oldest and largest fishing enterprises in Kamchatka. The company, which employs 2 thousands of fishermen, delivers the bulk of the fish to the shore, and after processing supplies products to the Russian market.
"Drifter sockeye - goes almost 100% for export, to Japan. The Russians do not see it. They do not know what is sockeye, but they know what pink salmon is, - said Sergey Tarusov. "We are confident that if the drifter is banned, salmon approaches will increase significantly." The coast will start to work normally, people will have stability. Our colleagues from Sakhalin recall that 500 Sakhalin fishermen, who work on drifters a month and a half a year, will be left without work. The fact that 20 thousand Kamchatka fishermen will be left without work as a result of drift-net fishing, they do not think. With drifters, people tomorrow will go to other ships, and in coastal settlements people live, they have nowhere to go. The beach can not be left without fish, it's just criminal. "
While the Far Eastern territories are evaluating the bill, Rosrybolovstvo has begun to study in detail the problems of drift-net fishing. In late January, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, the head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries, Ilya Shestakov, held an interdepartmental meeting on issues related to the drift-net fishing of Pacific salmon in the exclusive economic zone of Russia by domestic and foreign users. As a result, the Pacific Research Fisheries Center was instructed to provide a comprehensive analysis of the impact of driftnet fishing for Pacific salmon on the state of stocks of aquatic biological resources in the Russian EEZ. At the same time, the Rosrybolovstva Directorate should analyze the economic effect of the proposed measures for the fisheries complex of the Far East, as well as the legal aspects of the issue. Materials are now being prepared, "the Rosrybolovstvo reported.
It is already obvious that a heated debate will unfold around the bill. It is possible that his editorial staff will be corrected. The main task of the legislator in such conditions is to abstract from the interests of a specific fishing lobby and be guided only by the interests of the country's fisheries sector and by considerations of Russia's food security.