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WWF summed up the results of public monitoring for summer salmon run in the Amur River basin

27 november 2020
In 2020, public monitoring of the Amur tributaries was carried out by volunteers of the Association of indigenous people of the north of Khabarovsky province with the support of WWF Russia. For the first time it was carried out jointly with KhabarovskNIRO, governmental research institution. The results are alarming: the survey confirmed the critically low filling of the spawning grounds of summer chum salmon and pink salmon.

WWF-Russia believes that for proper stock management the total fish stock should be determined as the sum of the total catch and the number of spawned fish, not on the basis of catch data from previous years. It is necessary to regularly monitor the filling of spawning grounds after fishing in the lower reaches, and the obtained data on actually spawned salmon should be used to allocate quotas for catching salmon in the Amur.

For the third year in a row, representatives of indigenous people of Khabarovsky province have been conducting public monitoring of the filling of the spawning grounds of the autumn chum salmon on the main tributaries of the Amur to influence the current situation, and since last year they began collecting information on the filling of the spawning grounds of the summer chum salmon and pink salmon in the lower reaches of the Amur. The data are submitted to the structures responsible for fishing management. This year, for the first time, field trips of social activists were held jointly with the employees of KhabarovskNIRO, governmental research institution.

2020 is considered a rich year for pink salmon. The fishermen were allowed to catch more than 3 thousand tons of pink salmon and more than 1.8 thousand tons of summer chum salmon by-catch in the lower reaches of the Amur. However, due to the small number of salmon run, the fishermen managed to make a little more than 30% of the allowed amount of pink salmon, and 4% of the allowed amount of summer chum salmon.

The survey of spawning grounds confirmed a critically low filling of spawning grounds - 0.3 individuals per 100 m² for summer chum salmon, and 3.5 per 100 m² for pink salmon at a normal rate of 50 individual per100 m². For comparison, in 2019, even under the conditions of a ban on industrial fishing, the spawning grounds remained completely empty - the volunteers managed to record only a few individuals of summer chum salmon and pink salmon running to spawn.

In the Amur River Basin in 2020, fishing was allowed from June 11 to July 11, but with severe restrictions in the form of a ban on the use of nets. In the Amur and estuary, 23 races were established (in 2019 - 18). Fishing was opened to representatives of indigenous people only from June 21, 10 days later than for other types of fishing, which caused strong indignation of the indigenous population and did not allow them to take the allocated quotas.

Poaching is another serious pressure for salmon species. In the early August between two expeditions of representatives of indigenous people of Khabarovsky province visited the lower reaches of the Amur to assess the situation on the river and in the Amur estuary during summer salmon run.

Teams of volunteers went out on the water during periods of ban, monitored transport vehicles and the use of fishing gear. In addition, to collect information, meetings were organized with local residents in the Nikolaev and Ulch districts. All identified violations of fishing rules were immediately reported to the Amur Territorial Administration of the Federal Agency for Fishery and the Amur Basin Environmental Prosecutor's Office for a prompt response.

For example, it was revealed that fishing enterprises regularly tried to violate the ban on the use of floating nets under the guise of sport and traditional fishing. This illegal activity was seized only after an appeal to the Amur Basin Environmental Prosecutor's Office.

For additional information please contact
Project Coordinator of Protected Areas Unit, WWF Russia Amur Branch