Project Category
Project Category
Project Description
Project Description
Lake Ohrid straddles the mountainous border between the southwestern region of the Republic of Macedonia and eastern Albania. It is one of Europe s deepest and according to most experts the oldest lake in Europe. Reaching depths of 290 meters, this UN World Heritage site is also known as the "museum of living fossils." It provided sanctuary for creatures from the tertiary period which died out elsewhere during the ice ages. The closest relatives of species like the Ohrid trout (Salmo letnica) survive only as fossils. The 30-kilometer -long lake contains at least 146 endemic species, including 17 types of fish. Two-thirds of its small crabs, 71 percent of its flat worms and 90 percent of its snails also exist nowhere else on Earth. This unique collection of wildlife, having evolved in isolation over millions of years, is now threatened with extinction because of human pressures. The famous Ohrid trout, a local delicacy which grows to over 11 kilograms, has become the focus of these concerns In order to reverse the trend of decreasing fish populations, Macedonia has adopted a 5 year ban on fishing the Ohrid Trout, whereas on the Albanian side there is a ban on fishing during spawning season that goes from December 01 to February 28 of the coming year. During this time a small number of fishermen are allowed to capture mature fish individuals that are used for collection of live eggs to be used in artificial breeding. So far fishermen were payed for the eggs whereas fish were sacrificed and allowed to be sold in the local market as part of an incentive for the egg collection. The focus of this project is the introduction of a compensation scheme that allows the release of breeders. Fishermen will be asked to bring in the fish alive and will be compensated for the lost profit due to the fact that will not be able to sell the fish any longer. The live fish gets anesthetized, marked, harvested for eggs and sperm and then finally placed in oxygenated ponds for recovery. The project will also provide a small subsidy for costs associated with the fishing effort. The project will make use of the breeding facility constructed by the World Bank Pilot Fishery Development Project of year 2003.
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