by Karina Manukyan
The fish farms in Sevan should work under tough control, Evelina Ghukasyan, Director of the Ichthyology and Hydroecology Institute, Armenian National Academy of Sciences, has told ArmInfo.
The program on replenishment of ishkhan (Armenian trout) reserves in Lake Sevan and fish breeding development envisages creation of an incubator, a juvenile fish farm and a fish processing factory. The products (frozen fish, tinned fish, smoked fillet) will mostly be exported. According to the project, the stock of ishkhan fed on artificial food will be increased to 50,000 tons by 2023. Meanwhile, 4 fish cages will be set up in the Lake in 2015, and the number of the cages will be increased to 74 in 2019.
"I cannot say that I am totally against this project. But all the measures should be taken under tough control", she stresses. She thinks that it is wrong to set up so many cages within such a short period of time. "The process should be gradual and the Lake should be monitored. In case of a negative impact, the further process should be stopped", she says
The expert also comments on the environmentalists' concern over the fact that up to 50 thsd tons of artificial food will be released into Lake Sevan. She thinks that the quantity of the food should be calculated precisely and eco-friendly food should be used.
"These provisions exist in the program, however, it is hard to say how the program will be implemented. If the provisions related to the financing of settlement of environmental problems or creation of a juvenile fish farm aimed at preserving the ishkhan gene pool are carried out, I will totally support the project. But let me reiterate: one should make no experiments over the Sevan", she said.
To note, in order to stop the projects endangering the ecosystem of the Lake (i.e. the program on creation of fish farms, as well as the increase of water release from Lake Sevan to 240 mln cu m for 5 years), several NGOs have launched the Save Sevan campaign.