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Four countries advise Sakhalin not to repeat past mistakes with salmon

Click on the flag for more information about Russian Federation RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 23:20 (GMT + 9)

An international conference dedicated to the problems of reproduction of Pacific salmon has held on Sakhalin. Scientists, fishermen and other interested experts have discussed why the species population of this fish has declined so sharply and how to solve the problem.

“Pacific salmon is a valuable and demanded resource in the world market and strategically important for our country, primarily for the socio-economic development of the Far East. […] Salmon are a very important fish for our neighbors in the Pacific basin, primarily the USA and Japan. […] The conditions of restrictions dictated by the coronavirus pandemic did not prevent us from organizing an international meeting. The mutual desire to compare the reasons for the decline in stocks, to compare points of view, as well as the practice of online communication that has developed over the past year - all this allowed us to gather scientists studying the state of salmon stocks and climate change, ” Ilya Shestakov, head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries, greeted the guests.

The conference participants voiced many problems, but they all boiled down to one pattern: due to climate change, the amount of fish caught is rapidly decreasing. A similar situation arose in the 60s and 70s - however, then the decline in the salmon population was caused by a rapid cooling. Now we are talking about a noticeable warming, and global: a sharp decrease in catches is noted all over the world.

“For 30 years we have seen that our salmon catch is at a very high level, very large volumes, up to a million tons. And in recent years, there has been a decline. We see somewhere around 60 thousand tons of production. This year we have achieved very low performance for the first time. Artificial reproduction also shows not very good results. In the 90s there were about 80 million fry, last year - about 20 million. In southern Sakhalin, we also see that artificial reproduction is developing, but there is still a downward trend. In Kamchatka, we see that the volumes shown in 2020 are 4 times less. In Canada, we are seeing a historic decline. We all remember what happened to Atlantic salmon in the second half of the 90s, and no one wants a repeat in the North Pacific. Members of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission are doing everything they can to maintain the salmon population, ” said Suam Kim, President of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC).

The main forces of scientists of the countries participating in the Commission on Anadromous Fish in the North Pacific Ocean (Russia, the USA, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Canada) were thrown in two directions. First you need to try to predict what will happen next: in the seventies it got warmer again and the fish returned. It is necessary to understand whether this is possible now.

“In terms of research, Russia is now ahead of many countries,” said Vasily Sokolov, Deputy Federal Agency for Fisheries. - We monitor how salmon behave not only in coastal and fresh waters, but also far out to sea. Canadians say they even envy us how much data we have. "

The second area to be worked on is the growth of artificial reproduction of Pacific salmon. Today, over 5 billion juveniles are released in the world per year. A quarter of them are Russian, while 52 out of 73 profile plants are located in the Sakhalin region. However, all countries, without exception, suffer from the fact that the fish does not return: for example, in Japan, more and more chum salmon are released into the sea every year, and the catch volumes are decreasing. At Iturup, science predicted 24.4 thousand tons of the same fish, but caught 12.1 thousand tons.

According to scientists, in the near future it is necessary to organize more research for each zone in which fry are released. Richard Beamish, a specialist at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo (Canada), explained that for each region of the North Pacific, it is necessary to experimentally select the right time and place for the release of fry in order to ensure their normal return for catch. The collected data and proposals will be accepted by the guests of the conference, and a year later they will be gathered again to compare the intermediate results and achievements.

In 2020, Sakhalin salmon production fell to 45 thousand tons.
In neighboring Kamchatka this year, they expect to take about 359 thousand tons with a total catch in the Russian Far East of almost 460 thousand tons of red fish.

Source: RIA Sakhalin-Kuriles

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