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Ban on gillnet fishing to protect Saimaa ringed seal into force on 15 April

Ministry of Agriculture and ForestryMinistry of the Environment
Publication date 15.4.2020 18.35 | Published in English on 21.4.2020 at 12.16
Press release
seal's pup

The ban that entered into force on 15 April 2020 prohibits gillnet fishing in habitats important for the Saimaa ringed seal and its pups until the end of June. The ban does not concern gillnets used to catch vendace (Coregonus albula). The purpose of the ban is to prevent pups from being caught in the nets and dying and to promote the growth of the Saimaa ringed seal population.

The problems faced by pups are particularly severe in mild winters with little snow. This year nesting conditions were exceptionally bad due to the lack of snow and ice.

“I wish to thank all those who helped to make snow piles and participated in pup counts for the benefit of the Saimaa ringed seal in the challenging conditions we had this winter and spring. We have succeeded in protecting the Saimaa ringed seal through broad collaboration, where the local people and owners of water areas have a key role,” Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä says.

“Because of the adverse conditions, the number of pups found this year was just a third of the normal, and as many as nine of them were found dead. Now that the breeding success was so poor, seal-friendly fishing methods are particularly important next summer. I strongly recommend that all those fishing in Lake Saimaa will use fishing methods that are safe for the Saimaa ringed seal,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen.

The present fishing restrictions are in force until next spring. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has set up a broad-based working group to lay the groundwork for the preparation of fishing rules to protect the Saimaa ringed seal that will enter into force in 2021.

In this contexts discussion and consultation events will be held in the eastern Finland regions where the Saimaa ringed seal occurs, i. e. in Punkaharju, Puumala, Rantasalmi, Rääkkylä and Taipalsaari. The events were to be held in May, but due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus epidemic they have been postponed until August. The events will be organised by the Regional Councils, and all those who are interested are welcome to participate.


Teppo Säkkinen, Special Adviser to Minister Leppä [email protected], tel. +358 50 516 2868

Antti Heikkinen, Special Adviser to Minister Mikkonen [email protected], tel. +358 50 348 1406

Animals and plants Fishing restrictions Jari Leppä Krista Mikkonen Nature and climate Recreational fishing Saimaannorppa