ArmInfo. For the first time in the past few years, commercial stocks of whitefish reduced in Sevan. According to the director of the Institute of Hydroecology and Ichthyology of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, Bardukh Gabrielyan, at a press conference on December 13, this year the commercial stocks of whitefish amounted to about 660 tons, while a year earlier - 740 tons.
Meanwhile, according to the expert, the reason for this situation lies in uncontrolled fishing in Sevan. Gabrielyan noted that in the past and present years there was no control over whitefish fishing during the spawning period, which he called unacceptable. Whitefish fishing is prohibited all year round, however, in previous years, security measures were tightened in the weeks that spawned, that is, from early December to mid-January.
Meanwhile, since 2018, this practice has not been introduced, which led to the flourishing of fish smuggling. The expert expressed concern that as a result, in markets and streets you can see in open sale not only whitefish, but also caviar. This circumstance, as noted, cannot but negatively affect the population of this fish species.
The situation with craw fish is even more depressing: in the last couple of years, their population in Sevan has decreased 10-fold. Gabrielyan draws attention to the fact that fishermen began to use new devices for catching crayfish, which allow catching crustaceans of any size, while the fishing standard is 9 cm. As a result, small crustaceans become prey to the fishermen, which are subsequently used as ground feed for animals.
Sevan ishkhan also becomes a victim of illegal fishing: the state for years has allocated millions to increase its population and purchase fry, however, grown individuals are caught in rivers, on the way to spawning. Thus, as the expert emphasized, the natural reproduction of Sevan Ishkhan is 100% absent. The Institute of Hydroecology and Ichthyology proposes a ban on fishing for fish and crayfish from Sevan for a year in order to somehow regulate the situation. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia, according to Gabrielyan, is not going to cooperate, and calls the data voiced by the Institute experts false. This situation cannot but cause concern, given that since 2018, the situation with stocks of fish and crayfish in Sevan has significantly deteriorated. The expert gave a negative assessment to the initiative of the Ministry of Nature Protection to introduce a pilot program to resolve the fishing of Sevan fish. According to the ministry, this will allow fishermen to fish within the legal framework, but Gabrielyan is skeptical. <A similar practice of issuing fishing permits existed before, but did not justify itself. In addition, to date, some local enterprises produce Sevan whitefish in the form of canned food, although its fishing is prohibited. We are afraid that this pilot program will render these enterprises a great service, because they will be able to hide behind it, explaining the origin of their raw materials>, he said. Gabrielyan also informed that, with the assistance of the NAS, the Institute this year acquired an echo sounder for about 45 thousand euros, which is indispensable in the study of fish stocks. <However, we do not have software for it, which is quite expensive. We hope that the Ministry of Nature Protection will help us in this matter and provide appropriate funds for these purposes>, he said.