Coastal view from high in Russian Far East.Sakhalin Environment Watch

Overfishing Halted on Sakhalin

Overfishing Halted on Sakhalin

Sakhalin Environment Watch steps up to protect northern salmon runs.

Salmon runs through the Severny regional protected area on Russia’s Sakhalin Island are now less threatened by overfishing, thanks to legal work of our long time partners at Sakhalin Environment Watch.

The Severny refuge covers the entire Shmidt Peninsula, the extreme northern tip of the Sakhalin Island. It was created in 1978 to protect some of the last remaining taiga and tundra forests on the island. Marked by stunning forest and coastal landscapes, the refuge includes multiple salmon streams, which until recently have not been affected by commercial fisheries.

rolling hills of green
Severny Protected Area stretches from pristine taiga and forests to the coast on Sakhalin Island’s northern tip | Sakhalin Environment Watch

Unfortunately, in 2011 the Sakhalin regional government issued multiple commercial fishing permits for the rivers in Severny. WSC’s partner Sakhalin Environment Watch filed official complaints with the regional environmental prosecutor’s office. The organization also ordered its own independent environmental impact assessment, which clearly demonstrated violations of the protected area rules.

In December 2016, the Sakhalin environmental persecutor’s office issued the decision stating that by allowing commercial fisheries within the Severny protected area, the regional government violated the law. The office ordered the removal of existing operations from the protected area.

Conservation activists from the local Okha district were instrumental in earning the new ruling, with the help of Sakhalin Environment Watch and its legal expert Natalia Lisitsyn. It’s an important victory for wild salmon and the integrity of Russian protected areas.

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