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Save can not be caught

Baikal omul falls under prohibitions of Rosrybolovstvo

Save can not be caught
The Baikal regions risk losing one of their main symbols - omul for three years. Rather, the omul itself will not go anywhere, he will continue to live in the lake. But fishing for this fish in Lake Baikal may be banned in the near future, the reason is a steady decline in the population. It is not only tourists who will suffer, who will be deprived of the famous delicacy. Today, a number of localities in the region live off the omul harvest, and for them such a measure portends difficult economic prospects. 

Deputy Minister of Agriculture Ilya Shestakov gave an instruction to impose a ban on industrial fishing of omul on Lake Baikal. It is assumed that the measure will take effect from the beginning of 2017 and will be temporary - the restriction will be in effect for three years. Rosrybolovstvo has practically prepared all the necessary documents, and the Ministry of Nature of the Russian Federation has given its consent to the department's decision.

Such a measure has already been introduced in the 70-ies. Then the six-year taboo was beneficial - the population of the omul was restored to adequate indicators. But now, according to the relevant departments, the situation has again become critical.

So, the issue of reducing the number of omul is not the first year. Specialists of the Gosrybtsentr note a decrease in the biomass of this species over the past 20 years by 10 thousand tons. It is noted that if during the period of stable existence from 1985 to 2004 the stock of fish was 23-25 ​​thousand tons, now it is noted at the level of 14-15 thousand tons. Back in the summer, the media reported that the size of the quota allocated by the Irkutsk region for fishing on an industrial scale is 300-350 tons per year, while for several years this volume has been used only by 60%. 

There are different opinions regarding the reasons for the decline in the population of omul in Lake Baikal. For example, according to one version, cormorants and seals that have bred on the lake are to blame. In particular, Ivan Raznobarsky, head of the fishery supervision department in the Irkutsk region, spoke about this version. According to him, birds of prey cormorants, listed in the Red Book, eat a large amount of omul and do not allow fish to fully reproduce. According to the data of the fishery supervision, omul stopped spawning in large rivers - Selenga and Barguzin. 

At the same time, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Rosrybolovstva, the main reason for the decline of the omul population lies in a different plane - the threat has arisen because of unauthorized fishing.

The press service of the Ministry of Nature of the Russian Federation confirmed to the EastRussia correspondent that, according to the latest research, the number of omul is rapidly decreasing due to poaching. In this connection, the department also supported the decision to completely ban the catch of this fish on Lake Baikal.

"Rosrybolovstvom carried out the necessary studies, according to which conclusions were drawn that a ban on fishing is necessary at this time." We agreed on the decision of the structure, therefore a total ban was made for the catch of the omul, "the department notes.

"Now the omul trade is often illegal, we cannot check with all the traders the legality of the fish caught. For this reason, it is better for us at the moment to ban omul fishing for three years," the press service of the Federal Agency for Fishery notes. The department explains the ban by the following factor: if you do not prohibit fishing now, then the population will not be restored.

The Rosrybolovstvo stressed that initially the ban was supposed to be introduced for 5 years, but after the necessary research it was decided that three years would be enough to restore the population. The ministry's draft decision envisages permitting the catch of only 160 tons for further reproduction, and 25 tons for research purposes. For comparison, according to the official website of the Federal Agency for Fishery, the omul catch quota for the last year was approximately 1,5 thousand tons.

The ban on fishing is not the only measure that will be used to restore the population of omul, say the Federal Agency for Fishery. In addition, it is planned to breed fish fry at Baikal fish factories. "In addition, we will improve the material and technical base of fish protection enterprises to eliminate loopholes that are used by poachers," an EastRussia correspondent was told at the Federal Agency for Fishery.

The question of what to do now for the fishing industry, whose main activity in the region was based on catching omul, remains open. The Federal Agency for Fishery does not exclude measures of state support, subsidies for organizations to temporarily change the profile of their activities. The measures will be discussed with the regional authorities.

However, not everyone agrees with the initiative to ban omul fishing. For example, State Duma deputy Mikhail Shchapov considers it necessary to postpone the introduction of this ban for a year and use this time to adopt a program to support the local population and eliminate gaps in legislation. He believes that at the moment the ban of departments looks poorly developed and may negatively affect the economy of the region, according to the press service of the State Duma. At the moment, the deputy sent an appeal to the Federal Agency for Fishery, in which he proposes to temporarily postpone the introduction of the ban for a year.

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