On behalf of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation, specialists from the Pacific Oceanological Institute examined 11 orcas and 90 belugas that were illegally captured. Specialists exam will determine the possibility of release of animals to their natural habitat and the safety of their continued existence.
The Amur Basin Environmental Prosecutor’s Office organized an inspection to search for evidence of a crime in the actions of commercial companies that captured marine mammals. Based on its results the Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in the Primorsky Territory initiated a criminal case under Part 3 of Art. 256 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (illegal extraction of aquatic biological resources). The investigation of the criminal case was taken under control by the Prosecutor’s Office of Primorsky Territory .
In the course of inspection several violation of the requirements of veterinary legislation were also revealed. In this regard, the environmental prosecutor’s office submitted an order to the companies. The results of the consideration of acts of response and the elimination of violations are under special control of the Amur Basin Environmental Prosecutor’s Office. The heads of companies who captured animals have received warnings about the inadmissibility of the sale of animals that are property of the Russian Federation, and have been provided exclusively for cultural and educational activities.
As previously stated by the official representative of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia, Alexander Kurennaya, the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation started investigation after review of letters from environmental activists and Internet publications about illegal capture and sale of 12 killer whales and 90 beluga whales kept in Primorsk district.
It was established that, contrary to the requirements of Article 22 of the Federal Law “On Fisheries and the Preservation of Aquatic Biological Resources”, in 2018 the rights to capture marine mammals for cultural and educational purposes were granted by the Federal Fisheries Agency to organizations that capture animals without intent to independently use them in accordance with cultural and educational plans. The companies that capture animals submitted applications for export permits immediately after the capture. Considering that the revealed violations in the activities of the Federal Fishery Agency contribute to the illegal trade of aquatic biological resources protected under the international obligations of the Russian Federation and the depletion of their reserves, First Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Alexander Buksman sent a letter to the Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation — Head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries in which the question was raised about the revocation of the issued permits and ceasing the illegal activity.
First Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Alexander Buksman also officially warned Deputy Minister of Agriculture — Head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries Ilya Shestakov about the inadmissibility of violations of the law when granting rights to capture aquatic biological resources for cultural and educational purposes for 2019.
Source: Official website of Prosecutor General’s Office https://genproc.gov.ru/smi/news/archive/news-1500938/