Increased fines scare more poachers away2013-08-27
The Environmental Protection Agency has announced latest results on the monitoring of fauna protection. Figures from the first half of 2013 fuel an optimistic outlook as existing fauna protection measures have worked well.
Over the first six months of this year, 1,638 raids were arranged with 2,495 fauna usage violations found. This is a 6% year-on-year increase (2,343 violations in the first half of 2012). Raids carried out in the first half-year have already reached or exceed scheduled annual numbers in many regions.
“We are satisfied with these results of course, but I insist we carry on. It’s not about snatching offenders or writing fine bills, it’s about the final outcome such as paying indemnity and enforcing the fines. When money paid for environmental damage reaches the Lithuanian budget, our mission will be accomplished. I am glad we have been catching more and more poachers, but we’ll be still improving the damage recovery system,” Minister of Environment Valentinas Mazuronis said.
What people ignore most is the fishing regulations. A total of 2,238 violations of amateur fishing regulations were found, including 212 involving illegal fishing tools. It is inspiring that these offences dropped three times compared with the same period in 2012.
Illegal fishing tools enjoy the greatest ‘popularity’ in the Klaipėda region (58 cases) and the lowest in Marijampolė (5 cases). According to the head of the Fauna Usage Monitoring Department at the Environmental Protection Agency, Kęstutis Motiekaitis, nets set up by poachers are found in every seventh raid.
A slight increase of violations of hunting regulations has been observed. Fifty-seven of these were found, five violations more compared with the first half of 2012. More offences are identified thanks to more action from environmental officers. “Special efforts are required to monitor hunting after the business hours when most offences take place,” Vice-minister for environment, Linas Jonauskas, said.
Stepping up of the hunting and fishing regulations has yielded tangible results. Fines imposed for violating the fauna usage regulations totalled LTL 320,100, which is by LTL 55,700 less according to a year-on-year comparison.
Civil proceedings in the amount of LTL 435,000 were brought for damage caused to wildlife resources – twice as much than over the same period in 2012.
More and more reports on potential environmental damage are coming in via general emergency lines. “We are glad the general public has gained awareness of how important protecting the natural environment is. Publicity is an effective and cost-saving tool to tame poachers,” Mr Jonauskas said.
Public information division