Russian ban on driftnet fishing a win for sea life, communities | WWF

Russian ban on driftnet fishing a win for sea life, communities

Posted on
08 July 2015
The Russian government is banning a destructive fishing practice widely used to catch sockeye salmon in Russia's Far East.

“For many years WWF-Russia has demanded strict limitations on driftnet fishing and even its complete ban in Russian waters because of the devastating consequences" said Sergey Korostelev, of WWF's Kamchatka Office.  "This ban is a big win for anyone who cares about the conservation of birds, salmon and marine mammals in the Russian Far East.”

Driftnets as long as 32 kilometres are dragged by ships, drowning thousands of seabirds, whales, dolphins and seals. A WWF study found that from 1993 to 1999, more than 1.2 million seabirds and 15,000 marine mammals died in drift nets in Russian waters.

The ban will benefit the communities and Indigenous peoples in the region, where driftnetting has damaged and diverted salmon stocks. The traditional coastal salmon fishery is worth up to $1.6 billion US per year in Kamchatka.

The ban comes into effect on January 1, 2016.
Japan is the world’s largest importer of salmon, and imports around half its frozen sockeye supplies directly from Russia.
© WWF / Kevin Schafer