RMK to begin improving the migration conditions and habitats of salmonids 14.02

RMK’s other nature conservation tasks will soon be supplemented by the opening of fish migration routes and the restoration of habitats. To open migration, RMK is planning on using EUR 1.7 million from the Cohesion Fund, which should significantly improve the access of salmonids to spawning grounds.

‘The Põlula Fish Farm, which belongs to RMK, has, over the years, significantly improved the salmonid population by populating rivers with fish,’ said Rene Kokk, Minister of the Environment. ‘Therefore, it is only right to place the entire fish protection works chain into the same hands – from fish and other aquatic biota to their habitats.’
‘Now, RMK is fully responsible for the protection of endangered fish species,’ added Aigar Kallas, Chairman of the Management Board of RMK. ‘In addition to the stocking of fish, our task now is to improve the natural living conditions of those same species, so that they would be able to manage well on their own. In the long run, this is the entire point.’

Dams built on rivers often serve as insurmountable obstacles for fish and other aquatic life, as they restrict fish from accessing their spawning grounds and habitats, thereby weakening their populations. The bigger goal is to help water bodies attain a good ecological state.

During the course of the project, it is planned to find cost-effective solutions for the dams located on salmon rivers, in cooperation with the dam owners and the Ministry of the Environment, to ensure fish migration and improve their spawning opportunities. Artificial gadgets, such as fish lifts and fish passes might not work; moreover, these solutions require constant maintenance. Therefore, the state plans to look for more natural options when it comes to fish migration, in order to ensure results that are as durable and maintenance-free as possible.

Thanks to help from EU Structural Funds, RMK’s Põlula Fish Farm has already created better options to grow and settle salmon, sea trout, common whitefish and grayling in the wild. This includes the option to maintain the genetic diversity of propagation material via freezing. The efficiency of fish stocking is measured with tagging and monitoring the condition of the populations. When it comes to species under protection, RMK’s Põlula Fish Farm also experiments with the propagation of freshwater pearl mussel, sturgeon, crayfish and other species.

*In the period of 2014–2020, RMK’s Põlula Fish Farm received EUR 58,605.52 in Ex-situ species conservation investments from the Cohesion Fund. An EUR 1.7-million project is planned for the tidying of salmonid habitats.

Further information:
Kunnar Klaas
Head of the RMK Fish Rearing Department
e-mail: kunnar.klaas@rmk.ee
phone: +372-527-8245