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Kazakhstan may be out of sturgeons in 4-5 years

Fishermen catch sturgeon with nets near the town of Atyrau. ©REUTERS Fishermen catch sturgeon with nets near the town of Atyrau. ©REUTERS
Sturgeons may disappear completely in Kazakhstan in the nearest 4-5 years, Tengrinews.kz reports citing deputy General Prosecutor Andrey Kravchenko.
“According to Kazakhstan Agency of Applied Ecology, the population of sturgeons has gone down from 3 to 1.3 million specimen over the last 3 years. That means that around 2,000 fish are killed daily. At such pace we will come to full extinction of sturgeons in 4-5 years,” Kravchenko said at the meeting in the General Prosecutor’s office. According to him, extinction of these precious fish is quite possible in the Caspian Sea considering oil production and poachers’ activities. “Kazakhstan has only 2 seas. One of them, the Aral Sea, lost its purpose long ago. The Caspian Sea will also never be the same if sturgeons become extinct. And considering oil production in the region, changes in the water content in the Ural River and mass fishing full extinction of the precious fish is quite real,” Kravchenko said. Speaking about the cost of sturgeon caviar at the black market in Atyrau -- Kazakhstan's city at the Caspian Sea often referred to as Oil Capital -- he says that 1 kg of caviar costs 150 thousand tenge ($1,000) and 1kg of sturgeon costs 2.5-3 thousand tenge ($17-20). By the time the fish and caviar gets to Almaty the caviar costs 180 to 250 thousand tenge ($1,200-1,700) per 1 kg and the fish costs from 12 to 18 thousand tenge ($80 to 120). One kilogram of sturgeon caviar costs 8 thousand Euro abroad. “Law-enforcement and other authorities are not the only ones who demonstrate irresponsible and sometimes criminal attitude to preservation of sturgeons. Local authorities are also liable. All these years several highly-ranked officials were embezzling budget money instead of dealing with the region’s problems. Another problem is that no money is allocated for water management to save spawning grounds in the Ural River or for reconstruction of two fish-breeding plants,” the official said. By Baubek Konyrov