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Salmon Fishing Plans Generate Uproar

The environmentalists are not opposed to noncommercial fishing. Vladimir Filonov

Sakhalin environmentalists are up in arms after local authorities sanctioned salmon fishing on three rivers on the peninsula despite stocks being low this year.

Activists from Sakhalin Environmental Watch, a conservation organization, told Interfax that spawning grounds on the Lesnaya, Markovka and Turovka rivers, where salmon fishing will now be permitted, are only 35 to 45 percent full.

According to the news agency, authorities recently granted a company called Rybak, which means Fisherman in Russian, a license to catch pink salmon on the rivers on even days of the week.

The decision is not the first to cause consternation among Sakhalin residents concerned about the damage caused by overfishing.

In a first for the Russian river-fishing industry, permission was given in the spring of last year for catching Pacific salmon in specific segments of rivers on Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, environmentalists said, adding that the move caused a "storm of resentment among Sakhalin residents."

The environmentalists noted that authorities did not sanction salmon fishing on the Lesnaya, Markovka or Turovka last year, when stocks were uncommonly high, except for the purposes of controlling fish stocks.

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