“COMPREHENSIVE PROTECTION OF RIVER HABITATS AS THE WAY TO IMPROVE LIVING CONDITIONS OF FISH” organized on 16th-17th November 2018 in Zatom within the projects:
LIFE13 NAT/PL/000009 LIFEDrawaPL “Czynna ochrona siedlisk włosieniczników i udrożnienie korytarza ekologicznego zlewni rzeki Drawy w Polsce/Active protection of water-crowfoots habitats and restoration of wildlife corridor in the River Drawa basin in Poland”, co-financed by the European Union under the LIFE+ financial instrument and by the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Warsaw and „Strengthening the protection of wild salmon and sea trout spawning in the north-western Poland” financed by the Baltic Sea Conservation Foundation.
On 16th-17th November 2018 in Zatom upon the Drawa a two-day natural and fish guard workshops took place, organized together with Federacja Zielonych Gaja which has realised the programme of salmon and sea trout protection in the rivers of Western Pomerania for many years.
The meeting was started by Mrs Aleksandra Stodulna, Regional Director of Environmental Protection in Szczecin. The greeting was joined by dr inż. Paweł Bilski, Director of the Drawieński National Park, where the workshops took place. Co-hosts pointed out the importance of protection of ichthyofauna as a particularly important element of environmental protection in the Region, which constitutes the basis for the development of the local economy. The good status of ichthyofauna gives, among others, opportunities for the development of angling tourism, which could be a significant source of income for the local economy.
The institutions and bodies responsible for water protection in the region were invited to participate in the workshops, including representatives of: National Water Management Polish Waters, including the Regional Water Management Board in Bydgoszcz and Szczecin, State Fishing Guard in Szczecin – checkpoints in Wałcz and Szczecinek, Sea Fisheries Inspectorate unit in Szczecin, the Drawieński National Park, Police, as well as guests dealing with similar issues in neighbouring regions, such as the representations of the Słupia Valley Landscape Park, Director Barbara Utracka-Minko.
Also the experts of the Project’s Steering Group were lecturers in the workshops, including: dr hab. eng. Piotr Dębowski, Professor at the Inland Fishing Institute named after Stanisław Sakowicz in Olsztyn, dr hab. Robert Czerniawski, Professor, University of Szczecin, Department of Hydrobiology and General Zoology, attorney at law Krzysztof Gruszecki.
The RDEP’s team, along with Director Aleksandra Stodulna, was represented by: Mrs Małgorzata Ćwiklińska, deputy project coordinator, dr hab. Mariola Wróbel – scientific consultant / botanist expert, Mr Artur Furdyna – field coordinator, Mrs Aneta Radecka and Mr Wojciech Wójcik.
The leading topic of the workshops was the protection of river habitats as a basis for ensuring adequate living conditions for fish. As a part of the workshops, the issues of possible protection under guard activities were discussed, issues related to amendments to legal acts in the field of environmental protection were discussed, including mainly those in the context of ichthyofauna protection.
The workshops’ co-organizers – a representative of the FZ Gaja association, Mr Radosław Brzeziński and Mr Marcin Budniak, presented their projects ” Strengthening the protection of wild salmon and sea trout spawning in the north-western Poland ” and “CATCH, sustainable fishing tourism”. They pointed to the need to improve the protection of wild migratory fish and the necessity to find an alternative for the use of fish resources in the development of the economies of “waterside” communes in the Region.
The representative of the LIFEDrawaPL project, Mr Artur Furdyna discussed some issues related to water protection, recognition of natural habitats, their sustainable use and elimination of threats. Scientific consultant in the project – dr hab. Mariola Wróbel discussed threats and methods of active protection of the natural habitat 3260.
Dr hab. Robert Czerniawski, the expert of the project’s Steering Group, discussed the biological conditions for the renewal of aquatic ecosystems.
The attorney at law Krzysztof Gruszecki, as a part of the panel he led, acquainted the participants with the latest versions of legal acts in the field of environmental protection, with particular emphasis on combating illegal fishing and activities harmful to aquatic ecosystems and those dependent on waters.
Dr hab. eng. Piotr Dębowski discussed issues related to the protection of sea trout and salmon in rivers as an important element of management of these species in the Baltic Sea basin. The professor’s lecture confirmed the participants in belief that it is necessary to strengthen the protection of both the fish and the environment needed for their healthy functioning.
After the theoretical part, field workshops were conducted in the evening – some guard activities in night conditions. During the exercises spawning grounds were controlled in the area of the Sucha estuary and below the Płociczna estuary. During the operation a thermal imaging camera was used.
On the second day of the workshops there were some field exercises in day conditions aimed at developing a plan for effective protection of salmon spawning grounds in the area, especially on the Drawa below the National Park, where park services are trying to protect effectively known spawning grounds, but this is the area beyond their competence. One of the important elements of effective protection is a good knowledge of the area of operations. This is one of the key aspects of both the protection by equipment /the use of modern monitoring equipment is connected with a good choice of places for their installation/ as well as patrols and interventions. In this respect, efficiency requires the ability to provide officers with accurate and clear information about the meeting point or intervention, if necessary support of the patrol or cutting off the possibility of escaping of suspected persons. After the field exercises, this part of the cooperation was the main topic of discussion on the second day of the workshops in the afternoon. The DNP guards familiarized the participants with some examples of the problems they encounter at work. The recordings presented made everyone realise the need to tighten cooperation on the whole Drawa below the DNP. The monitoring systems of selected areas used by PSR officers were of great interest. Their effectiveness depends to a large extent on the good typing of places and the methods of installation of the monitoring network in a manner difficult to discover by poachers.
The workshops gave an opportunity to strengthen contacts between services dealing with the combat of poaching, including exchanging direct contacts, establishing closer cooperation and getting to know social resources – Social Fishing Guards (SSR) – willing to increase their share in combating poaching. Representatives of the fishing user of the Drawa down from the DNP, from the PZW Gorzów district, started the talks with RDEP in Szczecin regarding the possibility of completing SSR equipment. It was agreed to strengthen communication and cooperation in the spring of 2019 and to prepare for an effective protection campaign in the 2019 season.
The meeting finished in late afternoon hours with a spawning grounds tour.
The workshops’ participants had the opportunity to observe the spawning of salmon in the Drawa with their own eyes.
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