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WWF-Russia suggests establishing a fishery protected area on Shelikhov Gulf

12 february 2021
WWF-Russia sent a letter with the suggestion to the head of the Russian Federal Fishery Agency.

Several years ago, the Russian government made establishing of fishery protected areas (FPA) legally possible. However, no FPAs were established ever since due to some legal gaps which were filled only recently.

A fishery protected area is assumed to be a zone where the interests of fishermen prevail over the interests of other industrial activity which may threaten sustainable fishery. According to WWF-Russia experts, West Kamchatka Shelf and Shelikhov Gulf, including Penzhina and Gizhigin Bays, is one of the priority water areas for FPA establishing. This region is vital to the fishing industry of the whole Russian Far East. It ensures socio-economic development as well as food security through pollock, herring, cod, and salmon fishing.

“King and blue crab species are high-value aquatic resources. Their populations, inhabiting the seabed in the area, make 50% of their overall commercial stock,” the letter states.

The experts emphasize that the suggested FPA will work as a deposit to hold the day. In the future, this water area may become a place of interest for gas and oil development companies; it also may see a growing shipping activity which can negatively influence the sustainability of high-value resources undermining their commercial importance. In this case, time is the essence and preventive measures are to be taken today.

There no legal obstacles left on the way to establishing fishery protected areas. That being said, WWF-Russia experts admit that establishing an FPA in the suggested region is quite a challenging task. In the framework of the bilateral agreement signed on December 1, 2020, WWF-Russia is ready to provide the Russian Federal Fishery Agency with any support needed to speed up the process of establishing the first FPA in our country.

For additional information please contact
Director of Environmental Governance Program