The Baikal Without Fishnets

The Baikal Without Fishnets

June – December 2021

The problem of fishnet pollution (such as abandoned, lost and otherwise abandoned fishing gear) is relevant around the world. The fishnet pollution continues to catch fish and other sea animals (so-called «phantom fishing»): the fish and other sea animals enter the fishnets and die as a result. Rotting processes begin, which lead to the development of harmful algae – spirogyra and cyanobacteria, which poison the water. Thus, «phantom fishing» causes economic and environmental damage. 

Nowadays, there is no data on fishnet pollution of Lake Baikal, as well as on the consequences of such pollution. According to divers, the shallow water of Lake Baikal is not an exception in the context of the global problem of fishnet pollution of water bodies.

After reviewing the letters of support for the Baikal Without Fishnets project from the directorate of the Pribaikalsky National Park, the Baikal Nature Interregional Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of General Ecology and Hydrobiology of the Moscow State University, as well as the Legislation Committee on the Environmental Management, Ecology and Agriculture of the Legislative Assembly of the Irkutsk Region, Lake Baikal Foundation has decided to sign an agreement with the Irkutsk Regional Environmental Non-governmental organization «Depth of responsibility» on the joint implementation of the Baikal Without Fishnets project. 

The Baikal Without Fishnets project is a set of activities, centred around an independent ecological Circum-Baikal research expedition, which will take place from July 25 to August 5, 2021 with the participation of employees of the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology RAS, as well as specialists from other research institutions.


  • to obtain reliable data on the fishnet pollution of the shoreline of Lake Baikal.


  • to make a map of Lake Baikal, marking the places of fishnet pollution;
  • to extract, analyse and disposal found abandoned and lost fishnets along the way;
  • to conduct toxicological and microbiological laboratory analysis of the obtained biological samples, water samples and fishnets to identify the dimension of damage caused by fishnet pollution to the lake ecosystem. 

As a result of the implementation of the Baikal Without Fishnets project, a comprehensive document will be prepared on the problem of fishnet pollution on Lake Baikal, as well as proposals for systemic changes, including legislative, aimed at solving the problem of fishnet pollution, which can be applied not only to Lake Baikal, but also to other water bodies of Russia.

The Foundation’s position on issues related to the project may not coincide with the opinion of all its participants and will be based solely on scientific data obtained after its completion.

Water Conservation