Days after introducing a 90-day fishing moratorium for Armenia’s Lake Sevan, officials in Yerevan are now pushing for a long-term ban in a bid to revive the alpine lake’s dwindling fish population. But enforcing any ban may prove problematic, experts say.
Lake Sevan, the Caucasus’ largest high-altitude lake, with a surface area of about 1,200 square kilometers, provides Armenia with most of its fresh water. It also acts as an economic lifeline for local residents who depend on sales of its fish.
The fishing ban, introduced December 3 by Minister of Environmental Protection Karine Danielian, targets trout and whitefish, two species that scientists say have experienced a precipitous decline in recent years. The ban, which went into effect on December 5, will run until the end of January, a timeframe that covers the breeding season for both fish. Boats that break the ban can be fined and potentially confiscated, along with their catch. Fishing for crawfish and other crustaceans will be allowed from December 28 until December 31 for New Year’s celebrations.
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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter in Yerevan.