Inspectors of Belarus and Ukraine coordinated their approach to environmental issues

The representatives of The State Inspectorate on Wildlife Protection under the President of the Republic of Belarus and the representative of The State Committee on Fishery of Ukraine have discussed the main issues of using and preserving living aquatic resources in trans-border aquatic systems during the international meeting that took place in Gomel.

The delegation of Belarusian experts was led by Tamara Barsuk, the Head of the Department of the State Inspectorate for Analysis and Control over the Protection and Use of Wildlife resources; the Ukrainian delegation was led by Grigory Pugo, the Head of the Department for Protection of Living Aquatic Resources and for Regulation of Fishing in Goskomrybhoz of Ukraine. It has been the second meeting since the beginning of this year. The first meeting took place in Chernigov in April, when the parties agreed to maintain closer cooperation on certain issues, particularly control over observance of the environmental law in trans-border aquatic systems.

Gomel was chosen the place for the next meeting not accidently. The river system of Gomel Region is directly connected to Kiev water-storage basin, which is a feeding basin for fish that swims up the river for spawning and wintering during spring and autumn migrations. The total length of the near border parts of rivers Dnepr and Sozh is 130 kilometres.

Important issues were on the agenda. First, the parties exchange the information about operative situation in protection and use of living aquatic resources in trans-border water basins, watercourses and near border territories. The situation has changed to the better due to the stricter control of aquatic transborder territories by Environment Protection Bodies and Border Forces. Gomel Region Inspectorate on Wildlife Protection has registered 121 violations of Fishing and Fishery Rules during ten months of this year. This is 40 % lower as compared with the previous year. The number of seized illicit fishing equipment has also decreased by 40%, and the number of illicit fish, seized from poachers, has decreased by 60%. But it’s too early to lie on one's oars, especially as far as Ukrainian colleagues are concerned, because the Dnepr provides them with about five thousand violations of fishing rules.

The representatives of the State Inspectorate and of the Goskomrybhoz have coordinated the main points of environmental law during the meeting. The amendments in environmental law, that have been accepted in both states lately, are not controversial and are targeted at protection, rational use and reproduction of fish resources not only in trans border water systems, but on the whole territory of the states. It should be underlined that the catch of certain species of fish (pike, sheatfish) and crayfish during their breeding season is not banned in Ukraine, while it is banned in Belarus according to the Rules of Fishery and Fishing. Nowadays the Ukrainian party is examining the possibility of limiting fishery during the breeding season of the abovementioned species of fish and crayfish in transborder water systems.

The Ukrainian colleagues gained the experience of Belarusian law-makers in the sphere of punitive sanctions for illicit fishing. The fine in Ukraine equals to from 34 to 170 grivna, what is equal to 12 - 60 thousand Belarusian rubbles. Now this figure is proposed to be raised by ten times. The last word shall be given by Rada, the amendments have been presented to. The representatives of the State Inspectorate and of the Goskomrybhoz of Ukraine have agreed to look into the issue of elaborating a joint, mutually approved list of wintering fish basins, located at the trans border territory of rivers Sozh, Dnepr and Pripyat and also to determine joint limits on fishing in the short run. The next meeting of wildlife protection bodies is scheduled to take place in 2010 in Ukraine.