site.btaFisheries Agency Requests More Powers against Poachers

Fisheries Agency Requests More Powers against Poachers
Fisheries Agency Requests More Powers against Poachers
EAFA Executive Director Nikolay Georgiev

The Executive Agency for Fisheries and Aquaculture (EAFA) requests more administrative and institutional powers due to increasing aggression against its inspectors, EAFA Executive Director Nikolay Georgiev told BTA on Thursday. A report has been submitted to the Minister of Agriculture and a working group has been created that will deal with the problems at its first meeting on March 12.

According to Georgiev, the requests of the EAFA to the Interior Ministry for more powers are with regard to the security of its employees. EAFA inspectors should have the right to detain poachers and take them to the nearest department of the Interior Ministry. "Our employees are being attacked, either verbally or physically, but they have no opportunity to react", said Georgiev. The agency also needs their cars to be classified emergency vehicles, authorised to be equipped with emergency lights and sirens and to be allowed special speed limits. "Very often, officers have to react quickly to a signal, and then fines for speeding start arriving", he said. 

In the sea, the collection of Mediterranean mussels from unregulated places continues, said Georgiev. The mussels are then offered to restaurants at lower prices, which is risky, he added. Georgiev explained that these mussels have not gone through the right cleaning in a processing plant, nor have they been inspected by the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency. Even though EAFA takes harsh measures against violators who catch Mediterranean mussels in this way, this type of unregulated fishing takes place in the most compromised places - at the ports, between the ships, in Lake Varna, Georgiev pointed out. "The water is of poor quality there and the mussels are the filter of the sea, they absorb everything, and then people consume it," he said.

Georgiev also said that the cases of unregulated transport of fish in the country continue. He specified that in this regard, the Agency cooperates very well with the Border Police and the Interior Ministry, whose officers often file reports when they stop violators for checks. When a poached catch is detected, if the fish is fresh and fit for human consumption, it is provided to various social homes, Georgiev pointed out. If the fish is unfit for human consumption, it is distributed to different zoos.

Georgiev said that EAFA inspectors are well equipped against offenders nowadays, including night vision goggles, off-road vehicles, and thermal cameras. "This, as well as our close cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, Border Police and the Forestry Executive Agency, helps us to cope with our tasks and not lose motivation", Georgiev summarised.

/DS/

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By 11:08 on 14.04.2024 Today`s news

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