The speech of the Chief of the State Inspectorate at a press-conference attended by mass media representatives
The speech of the Chief of the State Inspectorate a t a press-conference attended by mass media representatives on the subject:
“On activities of the State Inspectorate on Wildlife protection under the President of the Republic of Belarus in the period of fishery restrictions during the spring spawning season and hunting in 2008”
Good afternoon, Dear Madams and Sirs.
We have been thinking about this meeting for a long time. We have already been cooperating in some way with each of the media agencies presented here. Nonetheless, recently I have been getting a lot of requests from the mass media to put in the spotlight the peculiarities and results of our work during the spring spawning season and spring hunting. So, in order not to offend anybody by the lack of attention we have arranged this press-conference.
It is well known that spring is an important season in the work of the State Inspectorate. Since March till May the Regulations on fishery facilities management and fishing introduce certain restrictions and interdictions due to a spring spawning of the major commercial fish species of Belarus. Also the commercial fishing of eel starts. The regulations on game husbandry management and hunting allow certain types of hunting of wild animals and birds during their breeding season. Besides spring is the season of a large-scale harvesting of tree juices and wild plants. At this time of the season renters of fishery areas conduct juvenile fish stocking of water reservoirs.
The peculiarities of this year season as compared with the previous years are due to the ordinance of the President of the Republic of Belarus №207 on amendments to the Regulations on fishery farms management and fishing and the regulations on game husbandry management and hunting. As a result of amendments to the specified Regulations, hunting and fishing norms have been made considerably clearer which, on the one hand, brought within the regulations framework the rights of hunters and fishermen and, on the other hand, allowed reducing the number of cases when violators avoid charges as a result of obscure law wording.
For example, now the Regulations explicitly define what it is “the bank” and “the bank line”. Previously the phrase “fishing from the bank” provoked a lot of questions among fishermen: “Where is a bank?” It is in one place in summer, in spring in another, in autumn – somewhere else – so from where it is allowed to catch fish in spring?
The next amendment to the fishing rules in the period of the spring spawning season became the point permitting to use with a spinning rod a lure with only either a single, double or triple hook of a definite size. This amendment allowed inspectors to bring to responsibility dishonest fishermen who use at spawning areas spinning rods with a large quantity of big sized hooks and put in equal conditions fishermen and spinners.
The timeframe of the ban on the use of small-sized watercrafts and motor watercrafts by citizens has been specified. In the earlier edition, due to incorrect text wordings, citizens were banned from using watercrafts till July 15th. Besides, executive committees now have the right to allow citizens, if necessary, economic, transport and other use of watercrafts at the time of the spring spawning season.
The reduction of a distance from 5 to1km from the bank line of a water reservoir or water passage where it is prohibited to have illegal fishing gear or fish, whose fishing at the moment or at this location is forbidden or whose weight exceeds the norms stipulated by the Regulations, without papers confirming the legality of the possession of fish, also serves a good cause.
The introduction in this clause of a provision about the necessity to have documents, proving the legality of fish possession allowed inspectors to call to account organized poachers who practice a way of actions when some catch fish, some take it away and some sell.
But I’m not going to dwell on all the changes introduced, there are a lot of them both in fishing and hunting.
Despite dynamic changes in the environment protection legislation, dictated by life itself, the effectiveness of our work didn’t decline. And this is the result of its proper management.
Thus, in the period from March to May, state inspectors conducted 2757 environment protection raids, 893 of which were carried out together with representatives of other agencies. Also 1376 checks of economic agents were run. As a result around 4400 violations of the environment protection legislation were detected, 21% higher than in 2007.
Among them we observe a 33,5% increase in the number of violations of the Regulations on fishery facilities management and fishing. 5363 set nets with total length of more than 240km, 12 “electrical” fishing rods, 1034 other tools for fishing and 5,2 tons of illegally obtained fish were confiscated;
The number of violations of the Regulations on wild game husbandry management and hunting was higher 2,6 times. 85 fire arms (42 pieces were not registered), 119 other tools for hunting as well as around 1 ton of illegally obtained wild game meat were confiscated.
110 criminal cases were initiated on the violations detected by inspectors, which is 45 % higher than in 2007. 34 cases among them were for inflicting on the natural resources large-scale damages.
The total amount of fines imposed increased by 29%, as compared with 2007. An average fine for a violation increased by 8%. It proves that more serious violations were detected. As you know with the cancellation of the ordinance №581, the fines bottom was lowered and the courts actively use it.
Despite the fact that the State Inspector has a uniform with all insignia and fire arms, there are cases of putting up resistance, defiant behavior directed against State Inspectorate officials. Often, being under alcohol influence or being aware of their actions falling under criminal responsibility, violators hector and insult inspectors, threaten them with bodily harm, try to put up resistance and escape and sometimes they deliberately provoke severe actions. We had 14 cases like that during three months, as a result, administrative actions were brought against 11 violators for noncompliance with legal orders or demands of an official in the line of duty, they were fined for the total of 20 to 50 base amounts, 1 violator was brought to account for disorderly conduct, 2 cases are being investigated.
The State Inspectorate exercised control over the capture of migrating eels during the period of spring fishing, which was taking place in the Braslav, Miory, Rossony and Lepel districts of the Vitebsk region and in the Myadel district of the Minsk region. To this end, more than 140 raids were carried out, possible illegal trap sites were inspected as well as sites with possible connection to power lines, the so called “phases”. Speaking of which, it should be pointed out that this evil moved from the Naroch to Miory and Braslav districts.
The State Inspectorate exercises within the scope of its authority control over fish stocking of natural water reservoirs of the Republic. State inspectors checked 157 fish stoking sites. In the majority of cases stocking was carried out strictly in compliance with the Regulations on fishery facilities management and fishing, was scientifically based. Nonetheless, inspectors exposed a case of an understatement of the quantity of eel species during fish stocking of water reservoirs in the Braslav region. This fact is being investigated. They also found one case of illegal fish stocking – an administrative action was taken against the agricultural producers’ cooperative “Kudin” of the Belinichi district.
Inspectorates conducted independently or together with the police and tax authorities representatives 315 checks of marketing areas and other sale outlets, including unauthorized areas, in order to prevent selling of prohibited fishing gear made of net materials, preclude trading of illegally acquired lake and river fish and wild plants – for example, wild leek, which is on the endangered species list of the Republic of Belarus. Around 50 violations were detected and accordingly state inspectors and police officers drew up administrative protocols.
Inspectorates on Wildlife protection together with inspectorates on natural resources and environment protection fulfilled a huge task of putting in order bank lines and water protection zones of water reservoirs. It was done to create favorable conditions in the spawning period and to preclude pollution of water reservoirs and prevent fish kill.
On the initiative of the State inspectorate a special boards were set up at all district executive committees. Following the results of inspections, 100 protocols were drawn up on violation of regulations on water protection zones and bank lines of water reservoirs. 142 instructions were issued to agricultural agents to eliminate the detected or potential violations. Inside water protection zones summer camps for livestock keeping were liquidated, warehouses of agricultural chemicals were dismantled, old farms were eliminated.
I would like to point out that with the inspectoral staff as small as ours it is impossible to secure protection of all related areas using our own resources. That is why one of our main tasks is to coordinate our work and interact with environmental protection, law-enforcement and other state agencies.
For this purpose, in March-April we held coordination meetings which were attended by the representatives of the district executive committees, local police departments, local departments of the Ministry for emergency situations, district inspectorates on natural resources and environment protection, district organizational structure of Republican state-public organization “Belarusian society of hunters and fishermen” (RSPO “BSHF”), district forestries, renters of wild game husbandry and fishery areas. Schedules of joint raids and inspections were agreed upon. In the course of arranged joint actions, 893 joint raids and around 500 checks were carried out, more than 1000 violations of environment protection legislation were detected, 50 criminal cases were initiated.
Using the mass media, efforts were made to raise public awareness on the issues of fish protection during the spawning period, protection of wild animals and birds in their breeding period as well as on issues of environmental protection. Representatives of print and electronic media got actively involved into this work, thank you for this. Journalists, TV representatives participated in 24 raids under our invitation or on their own initiative which allowed us to bring into the spotlight our activities, give exhaustive and unprejudiced information about work of our structural departments at that period.
I would like to express gratitude to those citizens who are not indifferent to the issues of nature protection. A considerable amount of violations were suppressed owing to them. People called the “hotline”, sent messages about poaching sites from the internet site of the State Inspectorate. During the spring 648 messages were received through the “hotline” and 120 were sent from the site. 630 out of them were about violations of the environment protection legislation, 340 violations were detected following the provided information. Answers were given to 104 questions received from our site, many of them were posted on our internet site. It means that the “hotline” service justifies itself and the quantity of messages and the results of checks that follow them show that the trust in the State Inspector is growing and, I hope, it will grow further. We are doing a lot in this direction. Only together we can fight against poaching.
Today we can state that the State inspectorate fulfilled plans set for the spring of 2008, the assigned tasks of maintaining order at water reservoirs, at wild game and forest areas were brought to completion. And this is natural.
Since the time the State Inspectorate came into being and it happened five and a half years ago, our employees have acquired experience, received pretty good equipment and for their difficult work of fighting against poaching earned respect of ordinary citizens and nature enthusiasts.
Thank you for your attention!