Let us try to preserve what is left

PRAVDA.Ru correspondent Andrey Cherkassov reports from Volgograd:

Governor of the Volgograd region Nikolay Maksyuta signed a special instruction “On activities for protection of the region’s fish resources in 2002.” This order is quite urgent now. Moreover, such measures should have been adopted long ago, as fishery resources have been seriously damaged within the past ten years. Sturgeon has been almost completely exterminated in the Volgograd region, and populations of pike, zander, tench, and even crucian are rapidly declining.

Sturgeon is being exterminated mostly by poachers on the territory stretching from Northern Caspian Sea to the dam of the Volzhskaya hydroelectric power plant located in Volgograd. However, other kinds of fish are being exterminated by a so-called mutant crucian that appeared due to an experiment that is beyond control now. This is an undemanding fish that perfectly well endures the problems of the climate in the region and polluted water. Fishermen say that the mutant crucian can be caught in such places where no life can exist at all.

On the very dawn of perestroika, Soviet ichthyologists decided to acclimatize this US-originating fish to the USSR’s Volga region. It was supposed, that the new fish would provide sufficient protein and aminoacid to people’s diets. However, soon, the experiment was given up because, the newly created mutant was extremely bony.

By accident, a spring flood washed away the dam where the experimental fish was kept, and the mutant escaped. Lamentable consequences of the accident were seen as soon as several years later. The new kind of fish started the extermination of the fishes that were traditional for the region. As a result, in some parts of the Volga river, the mutant crucian is the only fish left. Unfortunately, this catastrophe is still of little concern to scientists and the community.

The governor’s order bans fishing within the spawning period not only in the Volga River but also in neighboring reservoirs. A special fishery protection post is to be created on the border of the Astrakhan region. Special activities for the protection of spawning fish are also to be introduced in the region. The struggle with poachers is to be increased as well. The measures are expected to preserve the region’s fish resources.

Andrey Cherkassov PRAVDA.Ru Volgograd

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/05/16/41201.html

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