Russian drift net fishery ban to affect sockeye salmon operations

February 5, 2009 16:27

Russia's PM Vladimir Putin decided to ban drift net fishery which is regarded so harmful to marine mammals and birds, the decision long wished and much welcomed by WWF, reports www.fishnet-russia.com (www.fishnet.ru) with reference to WWF.

More specifically, Vladimir Putin gave an order to the Head of Russian State Fisheries Agency Mr. Andrey Krainy, to the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Mr. Yury Trutnev and to the Minister on International Affairs Mr. Lavrov to prepare a set of documents on the complete ban of drift-nets in the Russian fisheries. This will mostly affect sockeye salmon fishery by Russian and Japanese vessels in the Russian Far East.

Drift nets are called "walls of death" as they stretch for many kilometers in the ocean and become a barrier for spawning migration of salmon from the ocean to the rivers, says Head of WWF Russia Marine Programme Konstantin Zgurovsky. Pacific salmons and marine mammals get caught in these nets, for instance one of the most valued fish species sockeye salmon is harvested with drift net gear and all other catch from drift-nets is just discarded. Experts say that at least 60 thousand tonnes of fish are discarded annually.

Large-scale drift net fishing is banned globally by the special UN Resolution № 46/215 on the consequences of pelagic drift net fishing for wildlife resources of the sea and the oceans, and also by the Convention signed between Russia, USA, Canada and Japan on the conservation of anadromous fish resources in the northern Pacific.

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