Under special protection

To save our flora and fauna, one needs to recognize them by sight - especially rare and endangered species.

Sweeping industrial development, active use of potent chemicals in agriculture, indiscriminate elimination of habitats already led to negative consequences: numbers of many animal and plant species have been sharply reduced, some of them totally disappeared from the Earth. It was good that progressive part of humanity (alas, in some cases maybe too late) came to senses — conservation of nature gene pool and biodiversity is a paramount environmental task in the majority of countries of the world. State programs and international treaties are aimed at its solution. A lot is done in this field in Belarus. In particular, practical measures aiming at protection of rare and endangered flora and fauna species are being implemented. Specially protected natural areas have been created – reserves, national parks, wildlife preserves, and natural monuments. International and national Red lists of endangered species, special lists of rare and endangered animals and plants specify species which need close attention and protection.

In 1979 the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Belarussian Soviet Socialist Republic approved the Red list of endangered species of the Belarussian Soviet Socialist Republic and related regulations. For the purpose of conservation and increase in numbers of rare and endangered animal species the first edition of the Red list of endangered species of Belarus (1981) included 80 animal and 85 vascular plants species. There were 182 animal, 180 plant, 17 mushroom and 17 lichen species listed among rare and endangered species in the second edition.

Third edition of the Red list of endangered species of Belarus published in 2004 includes 274 plant species and 189 animal species with 10 fish species. We already told our readers about some of them on the pages of the “NG” but we are sure that knowledge of endangered species will be useful for everybody. Indeed their future depends on each of us. That is why such publications will always find their place on the pages of our newspaper.

It is better to let go fish listed among endangered species.

Today we will start our narrative about fish, included in the Red list of endangered species of Belarus. It is not secret that even experienced fishermen might have difficulties with identification of fish species found in rivers and lakes. And endangered species have special legal status which is determined by the legislation of our country.

As it was defined by the Regulations on fishery management and fishing, all fish species, crayfish, prawn, lamprey inhabiting fisheries in natural freedom belong to fishable wild animals, excluding species included in the Red list of endangered species of Belarus.

Endangered fish species are: sterlet, salmon, bull-trout, brook trout, European grayling, smelt, vendace, barbel, vimba, sneep.

Pursuant to Clause 6, Article 17 of the law of the Republic of Belarus “On wildlife”, unauthorized capture of wild animals belonging to endangered species, their illegal turnover and other actions which may lead to their death, reduction of population of violation of their habitat is prohibited.

Depending on the damage caused due to fishing of endangered fish, administrative or criminal proceedings could be instituted. When an individual who ignored this regulation learns that it will be necessary to compensate the damaged caused to fish resources (and it is often a pretty sum) the desire to catch expensive fish disappears straight away.

It should be noted that the amount of compensation for the damage caused to the environment by individuals and legal entities as a result of unauthorized capture or killing of wild animals and adverse effect on their habitats is enforced according to rates set by legislation. In accordance with them for one illegal barbel unit the fine is 4 basic amounts, starlet – 3,3, vimba and sneep – 3, brook trout and grayling - 2, salmon, bull-trout, vendace and smelt – 1 base amount. Moreover, the amount to be paid is tripled for illegal fishing of endangered fish. Thus, barbell will cost for a poacher 12 base amounts.

These strict measures are aimed first of all at conservation and increase of population of these rare fish species.