Fish farmers facing a record fishing season in Russia’s Far East have been dumping their excess catch along roads and into the forest, subjecting the region to a plague of rotting salmon, media reports found.
The Federal Fisheries Agency’s Kamchatka branch said this year’s salmon crop has been the largest in more than 100 years. Videos on social media from users in Kamchatka in the last several weeks showed layers of dead fish scattered in the forest, along the road and on the shore.
“The rancid air grows either stronger or weaker, but never disappears,” the Rybak Kamchatki (Kamchatka Fisher) outlet wrote about its journey to the fish landfill. “The foul fish oil has spread and formed a black spot on the green field. You can see it from space.”
The publication cites local residents saying that “tons of fish waste have been dumped here for several years,” and that residents often see “trucks with waste drive through in a steady stream.”
One dumping area, about 14 kilometers east of the regional capital of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, has allegedly grown popular with bears.
“Closer to dusk, the bears crawl out to drink their ‘broth’ and chase it with grass,” Rybak Kamchatki writes, warning that residents and tourists are increasingly in danger of a bear attack.
“How many more of these ‘landfills’ have been opened and hidden in the forest?” the outlet asks.
Gennady Onishchenko, a State Duma member and Russia’s former chief sanitary doctor, warned that, in addition to the noxious smells, the piles of dead fish risked the spread of disease.
“It’s bad enough when there’s crop failure, but even worse when there’s too much fish. It’s barbaric that fish is lying on the side of the road,” he told a Duma-related website on Monday.