State Fisheries Committee preparing a government decision to increase salmon quotas in Kamchatka

The State Fisheries Committee is drafting a government decision to increase salmon fishing quotas in Kamchatka, said the committee's information and analysis centre.

The committee is worried by the situation created by a massive approach of red, pink and dog salmon and the overfilling of spawning grounds. Fishes that die upon spawning no longer are consumed by young fingerlings, but poison river waters with their decomposition products. The committee therefore considers correct a decision by Kamchatka regional governor Mikhail Mashkovtsev. He gave permission, on his own authority, to catch salmon above quotas.

Before the end of the current week, the committee said, the government will raise quotas on salmon from 40,000 to 100,000 tons.

The position of the Kamchatka region governor and the Fisheries Committee is challenged by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Russia's Deputy Minister for Natural Resources Maxim Yakovenko described the Kamchatka governor's permission as a "direct violation of the law". "Such a permission should be issued by the government, and it must be based on the results of an expert examination," Yakovenko said in a RIA Novosti interview.

According to him, the ministry is currently carrying out a probe into the salmon situation in Kamchatka. However, the deputy minister noted, the scientists cannot guarantee their figures are accurate. Their checking, though, is not within the competence of the Ministry. He said that a decision on a possible increase in total allowable catch in the Kamchatka region will not be taken until the experts have produced their findings.

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