Freedom to Salmon
WWF-Russia joined the International year of the salmon, which is being held by the initiative of the Commission on anadromous fish species of the North Pacific Ocean (NPAFC) and the Organization for the conservation of salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean (NASCO). According to the organizers, scientific research and expeditions, ecological and educational activities, suppression of illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing will be carried out on a global scale.
The great importance of salmon in people's lives, a large area of habitat and migration make the process of their study and control extremely difficult, and therefore requires joint action of many environmental state, public and scientific organizations.
Currently, WWF Russia is already implementing a number of projects for the conservation of Pacific salmon in Kamchatka and the Amur Ecoregion.
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Salmon have been the basis of traditional nature use of many nations since ancient times. The annual migration of salmon in the Pacific Ocean is a miracle of nature. They accumulate nutrients in the ocean and bring them to our rivers. For people living on the banks of spawning rivers, salmon is a source of food and income. The fishing industry creates jobs and supports the local economy, ensures the payment of taxes and revenues to the budgets. Therefore, by protecting salmon, we protect forests, water, many species of animals that feed on salmon, food for ourselves, communities and the economy. Salmon are an indicator that our rivers are healthy.
At a time when other countries are restoring depleted salmon stocks, the remaining wild salmon populations in the Amur Ecoregion suffer from overfishing, logging on the banks, gold mining, etc. It is possible that with current trends, our salmon can also add to the list of endangered species.
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In the Khabarovsk province, where in the estuary of the Amur salmon are fished on an industrial scale, a strange situation develops: salmon catches in recent years have been large, but spawning grounds at the same time remained empty. Consequently, these large catches are not indicative of an increase in salmon numbers. Currently, the forecast of salmon population is determined by fisheries science on the basis of catch data without taking into account data on the filling of spawning grounds.
Information on empty spawning grounds is confirmed by the results of an independent survey obtained in the autumn of 2018, from three dozen spawning sites on the rivers Amgun, Anyui and Tunguska – large tributaries of the Amur in the Khabarovsk province. The average filling of chum salmon spawning areas averaged 0.1 units per 100 square meters of the river while at norm it has to be about 50 units per 100 square meters for autumn chum salmon. The public control was carried out by representatives of indigenous minorities, who were previously trained by WWF in the basics of monitoring. The data are also confirmed by the results of a survey of the population living on the tributaries of the Amur river, conducted by the Students brigades of nature protection of the Amur Ecoregion. More than 60% of respondents could not catch fish.
To say that salmon ended in the Amur river is premature. However, it is obvious that the generations from spawning salmon of the last two years will not be numerous. Today, the problem requires the participation of all scientific organizations, fishermen, businesses, regional and federal institutes in the field of fisheries, as well as the local population.
Campaign "Freedom of salmon!" were organized with the support of WWF Russia, by all reserves and national parks of the Amur Ecoregion, as well as the joint Directorate of reserves and national parks of the Khabarovsk province "Zapovednoe Priamurye". Active participation in the Year of the salmon are also taking by social organizations and student brigades of nature protection.
During the Year, various events will be held, from lectures at schools and universities to the international, Russian-Chinese drawing competition "Great Wanderers". In May, the celebration of "Salmon Day" will be held in the cities and towns of the Amur Ecoregion. In the summer, the reserves will hold rafting for schoolchildren, expedition, camps, dedicated to salmon. Highlight of the year will be interregional Chumarophon "Green light to the red fish ", which will take place in September and October 2019.