3.3 Aquatic biological resources

3.3 Aquatic biological resources

Commercial fishing (pic. 3.3.1) and restoration of natural fish reserves is carried out in Lake Baikal and other water bodies of its basin, especially rivers.

Pic. 3.3.1 Commercial fishing

Fishing in Lake Baikal is conducted along its coastal zone over the area of 377 thousand ha, which is 12% of the total water surface. The territory includes the coastal zone of the Selenga river delta (145 thousand ha), Pribaikalsky district (31 thousand ha), Barguzin village (84 thousand ha), Severobaikalsk city (62 thousand ha) and Olkhon district of Irkutsk region (55 thousand ha) (pic. 3.3.2) [2,4].

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Pic. 3.3.2 Dissemination of the Baikal omul [1]

The major species of fish, having a commercial value, are Baikal omul, roach, perch, carp, nerfling, burbot and pike (pic. 3.3.3). Omul and cisco are in high demand on the market, which led to shrinking of the reserves and introduction of quotas for fishing.

Pic. 3.3.3 Winter fishing (Kabansky district, village Istomino)

In the Republic of Buryatia, there were 48 organizations and private companies engaged in the fishing industry. The production index dropped and was to 80.1% of the previous year value (which was, in turn, 115.7% of 2010 value). In 2009, the total commercial catch was 3,136 tons, which substantially declined in the subsequent years and reflected in the indicators for 2010-2012 (table 3.5.5) [12].

Table 3.3.1 Production of fish and aquatic bio-resources by the districts of the Buryat Republic within Lake Baikal basin (tons)

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In 2013, the total catch of fish and other aquatic resources in the Republic of Buryatia was 2,190.4 tons. The official catch of omul was 1,140 tons in 2013, 67 tons less than in 2012. However, the actual catch of omul in 2012 and 2013 was higher than the official figures by 39% (1,870 tons) and 37% (1,900 tons), respectively. This was due to illegal catch (pic. 3.3.4). The official catch of Baikal grayling in 2013 was 9.3 tons (in 2012 -7.0 tons). In the same year, the official catch of cisco was 4.6 tons (in 2012 – 3.7 tons). The species of fish are highly subject to illegal catch, the amount of which often nears the total allowed catch [4].

Pic. 3.3.4 The spontaneous market selling omul (settlement Listvyanka)

The Republic exports fish and sea food – 944.4 and 1,292.1 tons in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Consumption of fish and fish products per capita in the Republic of Buryatia was 9.7, 10.4, and 10.8 kg/year in 2010-2012, respectively. The reserves of commercially valuable fish in Lake Baikal and its tributaries are getting depleted, therefore fish-breeding has been conducted for decades. The major enterprises in the Republic of Buryatia are Bolsherechensky fish- breeding plant (capacity – 1.25 billion fish eggs), Selenginsky fish-breeding plant (capacity – 1.5 billion fish eggs of omul and 2 billion fish eggs of Baikal sturgeon), Barguzinsky fish-breeding plant (capacity – 1 billion fish eggs). In Irkutsk region, there are Burduguzsky fish-breeding plant (capacity – 100 million fish eggs) and Belskoe fish-breeding department of Irkutsky fish- breeding plant on the Belaya river (capacity – 150 million fish eggs) breeding cisco [2,4].

The objective of the artificial reproduction of omul (pic. 3.3.5) is maintaining a stable amount of catch of 3 thousand tons. In 2013, 1.03 billion fish larva were released by fish-breeding plants. The number was comparable to that in 2012, but lower than the full capacity of the fish-breeding plants. Federal state funding of omul breeding has been continuously decreasing, and in 2012-2013 there was no funding at all. The fish larva and the young fish are released into many lakes and water reserves of Russia, Mongolia (Lake Khovsgol), China and Japan.

Pic. 3.3.5 The Baikal omul

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