WWF-Russia suggests establishing a fishery protected area on Shelikhov Gulf
Several years ago, the Russian government made establishment of fishery protected areas (FPA) legally possible. However, no FPAs had been established due to legal gaps which were filled only recently.
A fishery protected area is a zone where the interests of fishermen prevail over the interests of other industrial activity which may threaten a sustainable fishery. According to WWF-Russia experts, the West Kamchatka Shelf and Shelikhov Gulf, including Penzhina and Gizhigin Bays, is one of the priority water areas for establishing an FPA. 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.
Experts emphasize that the suggested FPA will work as preventative measure. In the future, this water area may become a place of interest for gas and oil development companies; it also may see growing shipping activity which can negatively influence the sustainability of high-value resources undermining their commercial importance. In this case, time is of the essence and action needs 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.