Aleksandr Lukashenko holds session to discuss improvement of fishing and hunting industries

    Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has demanded that new hunting and fishing laws should contain no loopholes. The President made this statement at a session to discuss improvements to fishing and hunting laws on 30 July.

    “The rules should be uniform for all, they should be clear and understandable; they should have no room for loopholes that might be used by dishonest people,” the head of state said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that he had initiated public discussion of the matter. He emphasized that the results of the discussion will be thoroughly analyzed during the session. The session should also come up with the rules that would measure up to modern requirements to hunting and fishing management, improve hunting and fishing practices, prevent violations, take into consideration the interests of ordinary hunters and fishers and promote this type of recreation and tourism,” the President said.

    “The new rules should not be detrimental to the state or ban people from these activities. However, each and every should understand that if we start hunting indiscriminately, if we use electric fishing rods, fishing nets and other devices to catch everything that moves in the water, two years from now nothing will be left in forests and waters,” the President underlined. He added that people no longer use hunting and fishing to survive, rather to have fun and relax, therefore hunters and fishers should pay for it. “If someone wants to rent out a lake or a hunting ground, they should pay for it and the money should be pretty big. Renters will decide how much they need to charge to make sure they will not operate at a loss,” the head of state said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko gave instructions to establish a tough control over animal breeding: “We do not have substantial deposits of mineral resources. Therefore, we should do our utmost to protect what we were given by nature”. He reminded that government programs were adopted to improve hunting and fishing practices. The programs will be in effect until 2015.

    “I was informed that the program on hunting is generally fulfilled and that allegedly the population of major wild animals is growing,” the head of state said. He noted that things are not so great in fishing. As far as fishing in natural reservoirs is concerned, fishing targets are not fulfilled by the oblast executive committees of Vitebsk, Brest, Mogilev and the Belarus President Property Management Directorate: there are numerous complaints of mismanagement and other defaults on rented reservoirs. “I should say that it is still unclear what local executive and regulatory bodies are doing to resolve these issues,” the President said.

    “However, the biggest concern is poaching and other related crimes,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    “They reassure me in their reports saying that the situation has improved in hunting enterprises and there is no increase in serious violations. I will give you the figures: a thousand pieces of weapons and dozens of tonnes of illegally obtained game were seized. The situation in fishing is outrageous! The number of violations is declining, they say; last year only 5,000 cases were reported. We need to multiply the number by three, or maybe, five, or even ten, in order to find out the real scale of violations. Over 300km of illegal fishing nets were seized; 14 tonnes of fish was reported to be caught illegally,” the head of state said.

    The President was outraged by the lack of action on the part of law enforcement. “The first laws were passed in 2005. Since that time, they were amended ten times. Despite these so-called improvements, some officials responsible for this sector dare talk about drawbacks in the existing rules that allow perpetrators to get away. It was you who drafted these rules, amended them ten times. Still you say that something is wrong,” the head of state said.

    “We need to put an end to this red tape and confusion! After the new rules are signed and passed by the President, God forbid you find new loopholes in them and say that the legislation is inadequate. You will have only yourselves to blame, from the government to grass-root level,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    “We need to come up with adequate solutions,” the President said addressing the attendees.