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Shrinking Baikal might paralyze commercial fishing

January 27, 2015, 19:10 UTC+3 ULAN-UDE
The fish will have no spawning ground because the coast line will move off, and the habitual spawning environment might disappear, an expert says
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© ITAR-TASS/Zorikto Dagbayev

ULAN-UDE, January 27. /TASS/. Commercial fishing might be paralyzed in Baikal if the water level in the lake continues to go down, Vladimir Peterfeld, Director of the Baikal department of the State Scientific Industrial Center of fishing industry, told TASS.

Processes going on in the lake might affect some kind of fish species used for commercial fishing. The fish will have no spawning ground because the coast line will move off, and the habitual spawning environment might disappear, the expert said.

"Nonetheless, estimates of a possible damage to the Baikal fishing industry are premature yet. Initial after-effects of the lake shrinking may be assessed in spring," he said.

The expert dwelt on the declining population of the Baikal omul species (sea fish of salmon family) which had dropped by approximately 60% over the past few years. "In a period of stable fish population in the 1980s-1990s omul catches totaled 23,000-24,000 tons, while now omul production is no more than 15,000-16,000 tons," the expert said.

The water area in Lake Baikal has been shrinking since last autumn when the water level in the lake dropped almost to a critical point, going down by 40 centimeters a year for the first time in the history of Baikal monitoring.

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