The Dnipro Fish Stocking Project
PROBLEM SITUATION THAT HAPPENED TO BE (description of the problem situation, why it arose; how this situation could affect the Company’s activities)
Ferrexpo’s mines and processing facilities are located in Horishni Plavni, Poltava region, on the banks of the Dnipro – one of the largest rivers in Europe. As in many other waterways of our planet, the condition of the water in the Dnipro is deteriorating, as a result of which harmful algae grow in the summer months, which can destabilize the ecosystem of the river.
Due to the formation of blue-green algae in the river, the level of oxygen saturation decreases, as these algae absorb it. This leads to a decrease in the number of fish, due to the fact that some species simply cannot live without oxygen.
2-3 years ago, algae began to bloom in July, now we have this problem already in May. At this time, a very unpleasant odor is felt near the Dnipro, which, with prolonged contact, can cause allergies to sensitive people. In summer the water becomes simply unsuitable for swimming, local beaches, which adults and children enjoy to visit, are no longer available.
Horishni Plavni also consumes water from the Dnipro, new highly efficient treatment facilities have been installed to ensure the quality of drinking water for town residents, but the formed algae create an additional load on the equipment, which can cause its rapid failure.
SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM SITUATION (what decision was made; chronology of the process of decision implementation; decision description; what technologies were used; a quote of the top manager on why they made this decision; whether there were any organizational/technical difficulties in resolving the situation how these difficulties were overcome; how much money, time and other resources were spent to implement the decision)
In November 2020, the Group initiated a project to provide special assistance to the river ecosystem existing in the Dnipro, adjacent to the Group’s operating base, by replenishing this river with fish to help combat harmful blue-green algae that being accumulated during the summer months.
One of our employees is a passion fisherman who has developed a plan that was proudly supported by Ferrexpo: to replenish the river with herbivorous algae-eating fish and thus balance its ecosystem.
This project was carried out jointly with the Poltava Fish Conservation Patrol and reintroduced into the Dnipro about 7 thousand silver carp and grass carp, which are effective species for combating algae.
This project continues on an annual basis to gradually improve the water quality of the river over time. Within the next 3-4 years we expect results.
We use herbivorous fish, in particular 1 ton of silver carp and 0.5 ton of grass carp. Now, in November 2021, we released 1.5 tons of two-year-old carp and 0.5 tons of silver carp into the Dnipro.
Ferrexpo has allocated funds for the purchase of fish, its transportation and organization of stocking. We supply fish from the Lysyanki village, and this autumn we took fish from the Irkliev Hatchery of Herbivorous Fish state company (Cherkasy region). The whole process of stocking takes place in the presence of representatives of the Poltava Fish Conservation Patrol under their control.
Fish stocking the Dnipro is a systemic project, the procedure is carried out annually at least twice a year – in spring and autumn. But we understand that the problem of green algae requires a comprehensive solution.
There is a constant explanatory work among local residents of the town that it is prohibited to throw garbage into the river, and it is necessary to clean up the coastal recreation area. The formation of blue-green algae is caused by household use of detergents that include formaldehyde. And therefore, at the local level, the Company’s volunteers disseminate information about which detergents are best to use, and which ones contain formaldehyde and are harmful. In Europe, they have long been banned at the legislative level.
In addition to fish stocking, the protection of the fish itself is needed. It is a question of fighting against poachers, fishing must take place in accordance with the law. There are clearly defined rules and designated areas for fishermen. For professional fishermen – 3 kg per person per catch, for amateur fishermen with a corresponding certificate – this is up to 5 kg, respectively.
Among local fishermen, we are changing the way we think and their attitude toward fishing. There is such an approach called “Catch – release,” thus the pleasure and excitement of fishing is preserved, but this does not harm the ecosystem, because not much fish is needed for nutrition.
RESULTS OF THE DECISION (what are the results and effects of the decision; how the decision affected the Company (reputation, financial performance, awareness, trust), what would’ve happened if this decision had not been made; a detailed description of the results, possibly using figures, indicators, which lessons have been learned).
After 3-4 years we can see water improvement and a significant decrease in water blooming. Fish stocking the Dnipro helps to shift the blooming period to a later one and generally reduce the amount of blue-green algae formation.
Today, thanks to the steps already taken, we have seen changes in the period of water blooming, meaning that we managed to postpone this process a month later, that is, not in May, but in July. We intend to continue the work begun to preserve the ecosystem of the Dnipro River so that future generations of Horishni Plavni residents can enjoy the beauty of our region.
Video about the case