The Reduction of the Pollution of the Baltic Sea and the Protection of Migrating Salmon in Lithuania

The project seeks long-term sustainable goals. Firstly, it is supposed to reduce the pollution of the Baltic Sea and to protect biodiversity by implementing concrete actions in cooperation with communities. Secondly, the project searches for solutions how to reduce the pollution in the rivers entering the Baltic Sea and to decrease the poaching activities of salmon in Lithuania. Seeking to improve the ecological situation of the Baltic Sea, illegal wastewater spills and eco-friendly low-cost solutions for wastewater treatment in private households are identified with the help of volunteers. The project educates the society and fishermen about the harm of poaching activities to the environment.

Situation and background

Salmon fishes live in the Baltic Sea and they return to spawn in the native freshwater streams. Baltic salmon inhabits marine habitats, but they may swim hundreds of kilometres during their migration, encountering different environments during their lives.

In a country like Lithuania, illegal fishing activities increase to a great extent during the salmon migration period annually. Those intensive poaching activities constitute the main threat to the salmon migration in Lithuania. Lithuanian salmon is a profitable catch and often sold on the black market. In general, however, Illegal fishing occurs much more due to traditions than as a source of subsistence. The residents, especially those who are living in villages near rivers, cause a great damage to the salmon population by using illegal fishing nets and by poaching at prohibited times.

Untreated wastewater, as one of the major factors of pollution of the Baltic Sea, has also negative effects on the salmon population. The major sources of pollution are the surplus of synthetic or chemical fertilizers and untreated domestic sewage water. Both reach the Baltic Sea via rivers. It is a very common situation in Lithuania, that wastewater of households and farms flow directly into rivers and streams.

The project started out with awareness raising about two controversial issues in social media. On the one hand, a video, demonstrating the beauty of the Baltic Sea coastline and the Lithuanian landscape, was shown. On the other hand, critical questions about the pollution of the Baltic Sea, and how the pollution affects people and fish species likewise, were discussed.

In Actio has gathered a bunch of volunteers and environmental activists to start fighting salmon poachers and to prevent pollution in Lithuanian rivers. In Actio is closely cooperating with Lithuanian environmental inspectors who help to organize preventive raids against infringers.

Project activities and effects

The main goal of the project is to identify the illegal wastewater pollution sources polluting the country’s rivers and small streams, which flows directly into the Baltic Sea, and to protect salmon population by ensuring the possibilities for migrating salmon to reach the spawning habitats upriver.

The objectives of the project are:

  • To identify illegal wastewater pollution sources and to transfer the results of the collected information to the competent authorities of Lithuania, thereby reducing pollution to the Baltic Sea. After the identification of illegal spills, it is planned to educate local inhabitants about the possibilities to install ecological alternative methods and low-tech solutions for the treatment of the household wastewater.
  • To collect the illegal fishing nets in exchange to the new fishing rods, thus reducing the opportunities for poaching in the salmon migration and spawning season.
  • To prevent illegal salmon fishing in inland waters by organizing the preventive environmental raids in cooperation with local environmental authorities.
  • To raise the level of environmental education of students and local communities by organizing lectures and seminars on the damage of poaching activities and the importance of nature protection.

 

In order to achieve the main goal of the projects, we will implement these activities:

  • Activity “Expeditions to identify illegal sewage”. The main aim of the activity is to reduce pollution of the Baltic Sea by identifying the illegal wastewater pollution sources. The report of the collected information will be transferred to the competent authorities of Lithuania. After the identification of the illegal spills, it is planned to educate local inhabitants about the possibilities to install ecological alternative methods and low-tech solutions for the treatment of the household wastewater.
  • Activity „Destroy your illegal net”. It is foreseen to assemble illegal fishing nets of the local population thus reducing the opportunities for poaching in the salmon migration and spawning season.
  • Activity „Save Salmon”. In cooperation with environmental institutions it is planned to organize environmental preventive raids (checks). This will reduce the poaching activities of salmon during their migration and spawning season.
  • Activity „Poaching damage to environment”. By organizing lectures and seminars for local communities and schools it is planned to raise the level of understanding and education about poaching damage to the environment and other ecological problems.

Beneficiary

Kultūros centras “In Actio”

Partners

  • Regional Environment Protection Department
  • Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences
  • Fishermen
  • Various other interest groups and volunteers

Project region 

Different parts of Lithuania

Project duration 

2017-07-01 – 2018-07-31

Budget

total project budget: € 90.620
funding baltfc: € 80.126

in actio 2

in actio 1