Diversion of water from Lake Sevan detrimental effect on fish stocks — expert

Diversion of water from Lake Sevan for irrigation purposes detrimental effect on stocks of fish are said Wednesday Director of Scientific Center of Zoology and Hydro National Academy of Sciences of Armenia Barduh Gabrielyan.

Armenia's National Assembly on June 22 adopted a package of amendments to the laws relating to Lake Sevan, that out of the lake for irrigation in 2012, can be taken up to 320 million cubic meters of water. Under existing law, the lake capable of collecting a maximum of 170 million cubic meters of water per year.

"Any fluctuation of water throughout the year, whether it be reducing or raising water levels negatively affect the entire ecosystem of the lake, including some species of fish," — quoted Gabrielian agency ARKA economic information.

The Armenian government approved the amendments at the meeting on June 14. Immediately after that a number of experts and environmentalists to oppose the belief that it would harm the lake.

In this regard, member of the expert committee on the protection of Lake Sevan, the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia Sergey Ambartsumian has decided to withdraw from the expert committee. In a statement released by the scientists, in particular, it is said that such a decision was "barbaric" and does not meet the long-term interests of nature protection and the country in general.

According Gabrielian disappearance of certain species of trout in Sevan is also due to diversion of water from the lake.

"In Sevan vodilos four species of trout, two of which swept spawn in rivers and their unlimited catch leads to their gradual disappearance. And two other types spawn in coastal and water extraction has led to the fact that these areas were dried up," — said he said.

Therefore Gabrielyan noted that the legislative amendments regarding the increase in water intake from Lake Armenian National Assembly did not consider experts warning of the possible consequences.

According to the expert, the stock of fish in Lake Sevan in the past 20 years decreased by 3.5 times. "If at the beginning of the 90s of the last century fish stocks in Lake Sevan is 28-30 tons by the end of 2011 the number was 8.5 tons," — he said.

According to him, despite the measures taken by the state to restore the population of fish resources due to unrestricted fishing by individuals, especially during the spawning stock of fish, including whitefish, Sevan trout and fluent in the lake continue to decline.

The director of the Institute of Hydro-ecology and Ichthyology Research Centre Zoology and Hydro Armenian NAS Evelyn Ghukasyan noted the widely accepted fallacy that reduce populations of certain species of fish, including whitefish, in Sevan effect increased populations of cancer, eating their eggs.

"Studies show that cancer can not compete with whitefish, for the simple reason that the signal propagates at the end of November — beginning of December, when the temperature of the water in Lake Sevan is greatly reduced. Scientifically proven that the type of cancers that lives in the lake, under the conditions below 15 degrees, significantly loses its activity, and thus can not prevent Curve during spawning, the more that crabs feed on organic sediments, "- she said.

As one of the measures to exit from this situation Gabrielyan offers artificial breeding of fish in fish farms, as well as the tightening of control over fishing.

Lake Sevan, one of the largest alpine lakes in Europe and Asia, is located in the heart of the Armenian plateau, at an altitude of 1914 meters. At length, from north-west to south-east, the lake stretches over 70 kilometers, and its water surface area is nearly 1500 square kilometers, the depth up to 83 meters.

From the lake rises the only source — the river Hrazdan (tributary of the Araks), while it runs 28 rivers, the total area of the basin which is 2776 square kilometers. The lake is the main source of drinking water in the region.

Lake Sevan attracts tourists with its beauty. Sevan is also famous for its fish, especially trout, which the Armenians call "ishkhan" (which means "prince").

On the territory of the Sevan basin has a large number of historical monuments, which are of great interest to tourists. One of them — VII century Sevan Monastery, located on a rocky peninsula.

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