Siberian rivers will be better protected


After the severe impact of industrial pollution, Siberian rivers will once again become watercourses inhabited by wild Siberian sturgeon.

The deterioration of riparian biota associated with watercourse regulation and pollution has only recently been recognized as a serious problem. Ecologists around the world have a high responsibility to draw public attention to this problem and to find a suitable solution together with the relevant authorities. Responsible businesses make their own decisions to support biodiversity.

As a good example, Finnish company Pohjolan Voima Oyj is actively involved in a large-scale project on fish migration in the Ijoki River in Finland. The project includes, for instance, the construction of a fish passage in Haapakoski for the downstream migration of juveniles as well as fishing equipment. The project also supports the start of construction of fish passage facilities at Raasakka. 

A particular problem has been raised this year in Norway, where due to the shallowing of rivers, salmon eggs have been deposited not in the water but on land. Norwegian specialists just have to look for ways to solve these problems and water levels in rivers necessary for safe migration of salmon and other fish.

The good news came unexpectedly from Russia. Norilsk Nickel, the largest industrial enterprise in the Arctic, approves settlement agreement with The Federal Agency for Fishery in Russia (Rosrybolovstvo) and decided to participate in the restoration and support of the biodiversity of Siberian rivers. In the first phase, starting in 2023, the industrialists will finance scientific research on the assessment of bioresources, and later will annually release fry into Siberian rivers, including such large rivers as the Yenisei.

One of the best-known cases is Iceland, where the Strengur program is aimed at developing and preserving the fish that live in local rivers. Its goal is to open up new habitat and food resources to improve growth and survival during the critical early stages of the salmon life cycle. Extending the spawning areas and nursery grounds through the construction of new salmon ladders is also progressing as an important part of long-term plans to help Iceland’s salmon thrive.

These examples are especially important because of the threatened extinction of many species on the planet, rising global fish catch rates, fish imports and the depletion of aquatic life. The transition to ecosystem-based management must be gradual and based on cooperation among the relevant actors, Nature says.


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