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Lake Sevan trout resources restoration, or cheap fish production project

On January 15, Yerevan Aarhus Center served as a platform for discussion of the “Trout resources restoration and fish production development complex program in Lake Sevan” draft proposed by the Armenian Harvest Promotion Center (AHPC). The goal was to present the program to the interested NGOs and to hear the opinions and suggestions of the public and experts.
Ms. S. Ayvazyan, coordinator of Yerevan Aarhus Centre outlining the vulnerable parts of the project and NGOs concerns, urged to listen to each other patiently and to hold discussion in the healthy atmosphere. E. Gevorgyan, AHPC representative presented

details of the project, especially focused on the issues raised by the media and environmental hazards. The latter assured that the project was made taking into account the results of the pilot project monitoring and international experience. The project implementation is planned reproduction of Gegharkunik and summer trouts through net and cage method using 0.03 percent of the lake area (in the attached draft is mentioned 0.07, but the speaker assured that this number is decreased to 1), which is more than 20 times lower than the internationally accepted safety usage limit. Taking into account the possible negative impact on the ecosystem of Lake Sevan, is intended to deal with exclusively organic fish breeding and breed maximum 8 kg of fish at the 1 m3 area, which is about 5 times lower of the net and cage farming average productivity.

Mr. B. Gabrielyan, director of the Scientific Centre of Zoology and Hydroecology of NAS RA said that the fish resources of the lake need to be restored immediately, from that standpoint considering encouraging the initiative of each year launching 1.5% of produced fish into the lake for trout resources restoration. In the case of working by the designed capacity the fish reserves of Lake Sevan, in fact, annually will be supplied with 750 tons.

The NGO representatives were of the different opinions on the draft. Some insisted that it definitely should not be rejected; it is possible to review the project in some spots, tighten conditions and to be consistent with the further implementation. Others, however, were strongly opposed, noting that Lake Sevan is not a testing ground, that the successful process of the pilot program is not reasoning and the actual threats of this large scale project are not forecasted. The project was called “business project”, rather than an environmental initiative.
Ms. L. Asoyan, the only representative of Gegharkunik Province, coordinator of Gavar Aarhus Center attended the discussion, suggested to discuss the project with the residents of Sevan basin and to take into consideration the locals opinions, for which existence Sevan has a vital importance.

Mary Chakryan
PR manager of the Armenian Aarhus Centers
Tell: 010 551364
E-mail: aarhusnews@gmail.com
Translated by Anush Beybutyan