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Public hearings on the initial evaluation application of a pilot modeling project of net and cage economy in Sevan

On May 12 public hearings were held in Krchaghbyur community of Gegharkunik region on the initial evaluation application of a pilot modeling project of net and cage economy represented by Sevan trout stocks restoration and fishery development foundation.
At the beginning of the discussion Mrs. H. Mkrtchyan, expert of the MNP “Environmental impact assessment” Center, said that this was the stage when they would take into account the reasonable proposals, whether written or oral, to develop a comprehensive assessment report of the project and that they had predetermined he possible scope of impact from the implementation of the project.

She represented the purpose of the discussion, which is to take into account the suggestions and comments of the affected Karchaghbyur community residents, to be able to record and include them in their strategic assessment report.

Attached you can also see the protocol of the hearings drawn up by the project initiators, which includes some information that Gavar Aarhus Centers coordinators don’t agree with. For example, it is listed that it was decided to approve the pilot project application. Gavar Aarhus Center Coordinator Mrs. L. Asoyan said there had never been such a question. She believes that it is necessary to receive answers to a number of questions in order to obtain approval: for example, not a single word was heard about the previous pilot program results, which according to Mrs. H. Mkrtchyan had been provided to public before but the information is not complete and publicized: only narrow specialists can make head or tail out of the numbers represented in the chart.

Mr. E. Gevorgyan, director of “Sevan trout” CJSC represented the project and answered a number of questions by the participants. He mentioned that this activity would promote to the elimination of poaching, because the number of fish in the lake would increase, fishermen could obtain a permit for fishing and sell the fish to the factories. The villagers raised the question whether such a plan was scheduled, because they definitely needed to know what future was waiting them. Mr. E. Gevorgian assured that something similar was planned, hoping that the fishermen who went abroad would come back again. However, the local residents expressed their fear regarding the future fishing opportunities, as they were convinced that fish breeding and unrestricted fishing is inconsistent. To the question what the community would benefit from the implementation of the project, the general director of “Sevan trout” company assured that they would have 300 working places, repaired roads and waterline conduction.

The villagers said that all the drainage dumped into the lake, which contains thousands of health risks and asked whether they were going to breed fish in such an environment and export it to Europe. Mr. Edvard Gevorgyan informed that they had suggested to inventory all the farms on Karchaghbyur river the drainage of which dumped into the river, in order to expel them; but where? According to Mr. Edvard Gevorgyan either to the treatment plant of their factory or a new one would be built, if necessary.

At the request of Gavar Aarhus Center coordinator senior specialist of the MNP “Environmental impact assessment Center” SNCO represented the project risks, which is mainly connected with the used fish feed ingredients, monitoring activities and treatments.

In the end the general director of “Sevan trout” company noted that fish farming is temporary in Lake Sevan aimed at solving the problems of the lake in a world-wide known method by using half of the lake resource they would return them again to the lake protection. However, this assurance was not so convincing, because so far in Armenia business interests were ranked above the environment and full exploitation occurred (as a recent example the destruction of Ararat valley artesian basin in a few years, which was shaped during centuries).
On these days Gavar Aarhus Centre has initiated additional awareness events, discussions and consultations with experts, collected proposals and submitted them to the attention of the Ministry of Nature Protection.

You can view the hearings on Aarhus TV http://aviplatform.com/media.details.php?member_id=185&type=video:

Mari Chakryan
Armenian Aarhus Centers Press Officer
Tel: (+374) 93991212
E-mail: aarhusnews@gmail.com

Translated by Marine Mazmanyan