|September 19, 2011 Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB) presented its
position concerning the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for Baltic salmon for 2012
In 2010 the situation in the Baltic
salmon spawning was quite complex: the number of salmons returning to spawn reduced,
which might be due to the severe frosts in winter. The same situation was observed in 2011
as well. This reducing can hardly be explained by natural fluctuations the number of
Baltic salmon stocks only. There is an urgent need to respond to the situation, and that
is why it is especially important now to observe the European Commission proposal on
fishing opportunities (COM (2011) 562) for 2012 and the recommendations of the
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).
According to the recommendations of ICES, fishing in the Baltic Sea in 2012 should be
reduced to 54 000 individuals (last year this figure was 120 000 individuals). This
proposal is supported by the European Commission and the CCB.
The number of individuals of the Baltic salmon returning to spawn is
decreasing on the main rivers in the Baltic Sea basin. We urge the governments of the
Baltic region to follow the precautionary approach to salmon fisheries in 2012. The
reduced recruitment of the stocks of the Baltic salmon is also expected in the coming
years, because of the negative situation mentioned above.
One of the biggest problems is also an unknown and unregulated fishing every year and
discarding of the Baltic salmon. According to ICES estimates, the number of discarded and
unreported fish is 32 000 and 102 000 individuals respectively. Also, roughly 200 000
juveniles and adults are by-caught unintentionally or due to the unawareness of fishermen.
Unreported and unregulated catch exceeds the TAC, so the biggest part of the total catch
of the Baltic salmon is out of control.
Basing on the facts above, as well as on unknown, according to the CCB, natural mortality
of the Baltic salmon, we call for the lowering of TAC in 2012 to 53 000 individuals in the
main basin of the Baltic Sea and 11 000 individuals in the Gulf of Finland.
Х The misreporting of catches and illegal fishing must be ceased to the maximum possible
Х Low survival rates of juveniles (about 10% only) calls for the need for immediate
action to prevent the reducing of already weakened population of the Baltic salmon
Х TACs should also include technical provisions on the types and size of hooks for
Х Lack of relevant data and large amount of unknown catches is a major obstacle to
evaluate the current problems and to improve the management
Our comment (Olga Senova):
Besides unregulated fishing, the safety of the Baltic salmon is affected by the
destruction of the spawning conditions. In the Gulf of Finland region salmons return for
spawning to Neva, Narva and Luga rivers. Salmon cannot enter the dammed river, and there
is unfortunately many of those in the
region. Strelka and Karasta and many other rivers have high dams preventing the
spawning run of the fish. Water pollution also affects the Baltic salmon`s living
conditions and the spawning.
Experts believe that environment of some of our rivers can be restored to the condition
suitable for the reproduction of the Baltic salmon. For example, in 2010 CCB submitted a
proposal to the Ministry of Natural Resources on the development of Luga River Basin
Management Plan to restore the Baltic salmon stocks as well as the conditions for spawning
and nursery grounds.
Comment by Dr Sergei Anatskiy (St Peterburg, Russia):
Unfortunately, neither I nor the representatives of the fishing community organizations in
St. Petersburg and Leningrad region which are directly affected by the problem with the
Baltic salmon were invited for the development of this management plan. Its final version
was not even introduced to us. So as a leader of the RBOO "St. Petersburg Fishermen
Union" I declare that we cannot support the Luga River Basin Management Plan.
We believe that there is only one article on one piece of paper that is needed for the
Luga River Basin Management Plan to restore the spawning conditions for the Baltic salmon.
This is closing of the Luga salmon pilot plant, long-term activity of which did not give
any practical results and became the main reason for changing the genetic structure and decline of population of the
Baltic salmon in the river Luga.
As an alternative and in order to preserve jobs and existing infrastructure we suggest to
restructure Luga salmon pilot plant for the reproduction of valuable non-salmon fish (lamprey, eel, grayling, whitefish, smelt, pike perch, bream, vimba etc.)
However, we fully support the position of CCB on the total allowable catch (TAC) for the
Baltic salmon in 2012, although this question is not very relevant for the Russian part of
the Gulf of Finland. Russian fishermen do not fish salmon in the eastern Gulf of Finland,
and sea trout
fishing, which is also often called a salmon (в оригинале -
кумжа, вместо sea trout неправильно
названа стальноголовым лососем bulltrout
- ј,—,), is prohibited at all because the sea trout is listed in the Red Book of
Russia. Russian fishermen fish salmon near Kaliningrad (26th subdistrict of ICES
Convention Area). In the Gulf of Finland (32d subdistrict of ICES Convention Area) salmon
fishing is conducted by Estonian and Finnish fishermen in their territorial waters.