Judicial precedent: Chelyabinsk resident sued the right to fish on a stocked lake

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Judicial precedent: Chelyabinsk resident sued the right to fish on a stocked lake
Judicial precedent: Chelyabinsk resident sued the right to fish on a stocked lake
23 September, 15:52SocietyPhoto: pxhere.com
A resident of Chelyabinsk fought for several years with a company that rented a fish farm on the lake and organized a “hunt” for amateur fishermen. But the court confirmed: all bans on fishing rods in this reservoir are illegal. This decision can play into the hands of fishermen across the country.

Alexander Dybin

The principal fisherman turned out to be the head of the public organization "Fishing Committee" Mikhail Akatiev, who for several years, using various official and public methods, sought the right to fish on Lake Urefty near Chelyabinsk. But in the end he sued as a private individual to set a precedent.

“The fish breeding area on Lake Urefty was leased in 2019. The Yurpartner company released perch there and, on this basis, declared that all the fish in the lake now belong to it, says Mikhail Akatiev, “the subsequent years they drove the fishermen, interfered with fishing, arranged intrigues, called the police. I personally defended the rights of about 20 fishermen who were issued protocols for illegal fishing. All protocols have been cancelled. The last year was the most stressful, one fish was almost drowned, his boat was hooked and dragged on a boat, the boat took on water and he was thrown like this in the middle of the lake, another retired fisherman was pierced by an inflatable boat, a third was sprayed in the eyes from a spray can. Now, after a court decision in our favor, these actions are turning into criminal acts, and we will seek their adequate assessment”.

The Yurpartner company, which appears in the case, is quite well-known in Chelyabinsk. She is associated with the head of the administration of the mayor's office, Leonid Lopatin. Before the civil service, he was the general director of a fish company. Now, according to the SPARK database, Sergei Leonidovich Lopatin is the director of the company, and Irina Lopatina owns the legal entity.

Photo:"СПАРК"

“To recognize as illegal the actions of Yurpartner LLC to restrict free access to recreational fishing on Lake Urefty to catch native fish species (crucian carp, perch, roach) that are not objects of aquaculture”, - the court decision says.

Akatiev won the lawsuit, both in the court of first instance and in the second - the decision was upheld by the Chelyabinsk Regional Court.

But the problem is much broader than a private dispute between a fisherman and a fish farmer. The Chelyabinsk region is considered the land of thousands of lakes. But it turns out that there is no place for everyone. For several years now, a war has been going on in the region between amateur fishermen who want to sit quietly by the shore with a fishing rod and even catch fish for food, and fish farmers. The latter practice one of the simplest ways of fish farming. Fish farms are rented, reservoirs are stocked with fish, and then fish are caught. At the same time, they try not to let the fishermen into the water, so that “they don’t catch someone else’s”. And no one listens to the arguments about the native fish that lived in the lake before stocking. According to public activist Akatyev, after such stocking, merchants consider all the fish in the lake to be theirs. At the same time, no one controls how many fry are released and how many are caught. And the authorities are not interested in these nuances, since their main goal is the volume of fish delivery: the more, the better.

“For several years now we have been trying to prove that, according to the law, an entrepreneur is the same user of a reservoir as an amateur fisherman,” says Akatiev, “they have the same rights. The contract for the use of a fish breeding area makes an exception for the merchant – it simplifies the procedure for releasing fish. But even in this case there is a catch limit, it is calculated by the formula. Roughly speaking, he released 100 crucians, and he can catch no more than 49. This position was confirmed by the court. And this decision can be used as a well-formed practice by other fishermen both in our region and in others. The entrepreneur must take into account that citizens have the right to amateur fishing. That is, fencing water bodies and marking them is prohibited. It is convenient for government agencies not to engage in control, they gave everything to the entrepreneur, and let him do everything himself. This can lead to the fact that unscrupulous businessmen start working under legal cover. For example, the South Ural reservoir. Under the contract, the tenant can grow fish in cages, but no one has seen them there. They can catch perch, ruff, pike and chebak, and catch bream, pike perch, crucian carp. They catch what is forbidden. We show it, but nothing is done. For them, the process of fish transfer is important. But the fish may run out. In addition, not a single entrepreneur under the age of 21 was registered in the Mercury system, this is a veterinary control system. And in our region there are at least 600 such merchants: 115 fish farmers, the rest are fishers. At the beginning of 2022, only 8 people were registered in Mercury. At some point, we, as public figures, were simply denied access to this information, calling it a trade secret”.

According to the social activist, those who deal with fish or are responsible for these processes do not always understand the subject. Akatiev gives an example: they plan to release 4 million peled larvae into Lake Shablish, but perch and pike predators already live in the lake. In autumn they will fatten up and the larvae will be to their taste, and in the spring they will begin to eat again after winter. What will remain of the released peled? And what will the merchant catch? And he will catch, because the money has already been spent.

“There are a lot of questions about stocking, those who sign the documents, they are environmentalists in general, do they understand what is being done? They can distinguish the larvae of one species from another, but how to understand how many have been released: five bags, and how much is that? - says Mikhail Akatiev, - specialists should be involved in such things. At the same time, we are not against fish farmers, there are ways to get along on the same lake. Divide reservoirs, grow fish in cages. It will be cheaper and more efficient. They grow themselves, and we catch the natives and no one interferes with anyone. Yes, everyone is trying to pull the blanket over himself: officials, businessmen, social activists. So it is necessary to arrange conversations, communicate, argue, and this will be the golden mean. And they don’t call us anywhere, they only hear businessmen. The other day we again learned that the Legislative Assembly is discussing the issue of banning recreational fishing. In various forms, we have beaten off such initiatives five times already”.

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