The annual exploration expedition was held in the end of October. Among the participants of the expedition were: the representatives of Silver Foundation; Federal State Institution “Komirybvod”; Udora regional committee for environmental conservation; department for state control, monitoring and aquatic bioresources protection; indigenous people community “Udorachi” and a volunteer.
This expedition was already the third one under the project. It was focused on monitoring of Atlantic salmon breeding area population as the Atlantic salmon is the most sensitive species. The expedition participants investigated the upper reaches of the river Mezen and its tributaries: Verkhnaya and Nizhnaya Puzla, Pyssa and Elva. The main objectives of the expedition were to count the number of salmon spawning nests and to evaluate conditions for salmon reproduction on these breeding tributaries. At the same time, the expedition participants monitored and analyzed poaching situation. According to ichthyologists, the overfishing is in particular the main reason of fish resources decrease in the recent decade.
There were much less salmon spawning nests this time on Pyssa and Elva compared to the last year. According to the local people observation, salmon comes to these rivers a little later and this year spawning period has prolonged because of the weather conditions. However, the situation didn’t differ much in the upper reaches of the river Mezen and in Verkhnaya and Nizhnaya Puzla compared to the last year. Nevertheless, it is too early to make some conclusions. Minimum five years of monitoring are needed to define at least a short-term dynamics.
Unfortunately, according to the expedition participants, the signs of poaching on spawning tributaries are getting more and more year by year. Moreover, there have never been fixed any illegal fences for fish on Verkhnaya Puzla before. But now there are such fences there – in the entry and upper.
According to Silver Taiga ecologist Nikolai Shuktomov, this expedition differed from the previous ones of 2011 and 2012 by participation in it of an independent supervision body specialist – the representative of Priluzje department for state control, monitoring and aquatic bioresources protection. There was also Silver Taiga volunteer among the expedition participants. It was his first significant field expedition.
According to the expedition arrangers, it is important to enlarge the variety of the participants and participating organizations as it helps the society to realize the emergency of salmon resources.
What is the annual monitoring necessary for? It is known, that almost no monitoring of salmon has been done on the river Mezen and its tributaries for a long time. The academics of the Polar Institute of Scientific Fishery and Oceanography (Murmansk) have researched the Atlantic salmon on the sea only. Meanwhile, to define the main reasons of salmon population degradation in Mezen river and to develop the salmon rehabilitation program together with the Arkhangelsk region, such investigations are extremely needed.
Translated by Anastasia Popova