WWF-Russia suggests strengthening supervision on recreational fishing for salmon
Recreational fishing is very different from commercial fishing because of its much lower negative impact on the environment. However, if conducted without proper supervision, recreational fishing can become a cover for illegal activity and threaten rare species.
Recreational fishing for king salmon in West Kamchatka is a striking example of such transformation. While sport anglers follow all the legislative rules for getting a fishing permit, there are no strict regulations to control and register the catch. Leaseholders, who sell those fishing permits to anglers, have been extremely lenient.
There is no direct legislative obligation to match a fishing permit to the actual catch. It is ultimately up to the leaseholder whether or not to write the catch information into the fishing log. With a quota of 500 kilograms, an unethical leaseholder can sell any number of fishing permits as long as he omits the catch information in the fishing log.
Since there are no official marks on the fishing permit proving the catch is legal, there are also no guarantees of the catch’s legal origin. An angler can fish anywhere, even on the other nearby rivers, if he has a fishing permit.
WWF-Russia suggests adding some points to the Fishing Regulations. For example, experts consider it important that both leaseholders and anglers be required to officially register the catch by entering information in the fishing log as well as on the fishing permit. The marked permits will guarantee the legal origin of the catch while the data from the fishing log will help monitor the quota daily.
Another suggestion is to limit the number of fishing permits to the quota size and monitor it daily. Selling of permits and fishing must be conducted on the same day so the number of permits will not exceed quota. The released catch will not be registered in the fishing log and won’t influence the quota.
© the photo in the head was taken by John Simeone / WWF-US