YEREVAN, January 26. /ARKA/. Armenia’s Ministry of Environment will again set a quota for whitefish catch in the country’s largest Lake Sevan, Environment Minister Romanos Petrosyan said at a press conference on Tuesday.
He said in 2020 the ministry’s priorities were the restoration of the ecosystem of the lake along with dismantling of illegal constructions on the lake’s shores, the cleaning of coasts and the restoration of fish resources.
“Last year, for the first time since 2004, we allowed commercial whitefish catch, setting a quota of 265 tons for the period from September to 1 December. As a result, more than 200 beneficiaries, mainly from coastal settlements, took advantage of the quota,” Petrosyan said. He said also that the catch was carried out under the control of fish inspectors.
Petrosyan said the ministry was considering the possibility of increasing the quota given that 30-40 tons less fish had been caught last year.
The minister also noted that changes had been in the structure of the Sevan National Park to prevent fish poaching, an inventory of property around the lake is also being carried out. He said several hundred owners of illegal constructions had already received notifications about the need to dismantle them.
He noted that if they do not dismantle them at their own expense, the constructions will be demolished by the Sevan National Park.
The minister noted that the budget earmarks 208 million drams annually for cleaning up the coastal zone, however, this amount was frozen last year due to several violations of the law.
“We conveyed the facts to the prosecutor’s office, which initiated a criminal case. Part of the money has already been recovered to the budget. Now we are working to ensure that these funds are directed at strengthening the capabilities of the national park to acquire the necessary technical means, and carry out the cleaning independently,”Petrosyan said.
Lake Sevan is the main source of drinking water in the region, one of the largest alpine lakes in Europe and Asia, located in the heart of the Armenian Highlands at an altitude of 1914 meters above sea level.