Articles and letters from readers about concerns about the future of universal access to waters appear regularly in the angling press. Many voices refer to the fear that the fish stock will be devastated by robbery, incompetent activity of new lake tenants. Concerns result from the privatization of land and lakes initiated by the Regional Agricultural Agencies of the State Treasury.
Interview with Zygmunt Komar, director of the Department of the Agricultural Agency of the State Treasury in Olsztyn.
"Fishing": Soon summer, the season of holiday trips to the beautiful Masurian Lakes. What legal status will anglers find in the areas managed by your department??
Animal. Zygmunt Komar: The local branch of the Agricultural Agency of the State Treasury in Olsztyn covers the area of three voivodeships. Two years ago, we acquired over 48 thousand. hectares of lakes and ponds after the Olsztyn State Fish Farm and the Polish Angling Association. Until now, we have developed over 46 thousand. hectares.
„W”: Does it mean, that over 42 thousand. hectares of lakes are already in private hands?
Z.K.: And, no. It doesn't mean that, that such a huge mass of water is leased by private persons. In fact, private tenants manage several hundred hectares. Larger water reservoirs were taken over by e.g.. employee companies of the old state-owned farms, now operating in a new legal form. This was the case, for example. at the Mrągowo Fisheries Plant, Bogaczewo, Ostróda. The agency established a company managing the former Olsztyn Plant, The Iława Fisheries Plant was established, The Fisheries Plant in Szwaderki is administered by the URM, a Department
Pasym was leased to Energopol Trade and the Polish Angling Association. Anticipating the question about the possibility of destruction of fish stocks by intensive fishing management conducted by new lessees, I want to tell, that the lease is under special supervision, under special conditions.
„W”: So we have new managers. What anglers can expect?
Z.K.: In my opinion, only the benefits. There is no slightest concern, that anglers will lose as a result of privatization. The general rules say, that access to water for tourist anglers is on the same terms. Nay, I get the impression, that the tenants are very much counting on the proceeds from the sale of fishing licenses. I can see today, that access to fishing cards is facilitated. For example, in large holiday resorts, the managers of these centers have fishing cards at their disposal and the tenants have the power of attorney to sell day fishing permits, two-day, weekly, annual, basically as the angler wishes. It proves the willingness to present the broadest possible offer.
I cannot speak for tenants, but it is obvious, that to earn money selling cards, you have to – apart from access to water – provide fishing attractions. For this reason, you should stock water with such species, which are caught most willingly. The entire region will also benefit from this, as the increased influx of tourists
it will contribute to the development of the tourist base and raise the level of services offered.
„W”: We are convinced, that your words allayed the fears of most readers. Thanking you for the interview, we wish the Agency good tenants – also in the interest of anglers.
Mr. Andrzej Florczuk, specialist in the resource management section of the Agency, he assured us, that: – all lessees applying for a fishing permit are expected to be properly qualified. Additionally, all lakes are subject to special control by the Agency. The lessee must keep a lake book, stock up on the lake in height 15% value of fish caught and catch no more than 120% the multi-year average of the catch. If the average is lower, may not catch more than 100% the natural production potential of the lake. The natural potential is determined by the Agency on the basis of the fishing lake type (e.g.. rope, pike). All of this is written in the contract. Tenants are aware of the consequences, what are the threats in the event of non-compliance, including termination of the contract. I assure you with all my might, that we are doing everything, that lakes are properly managed.
We know, that it is the beginning of a long road to well-organized fishing tourism. we're happy, that the fishing community's reasons are endorsed by those, from which, to a large extent, lies the image of privatization.
We try to promote not only the most modern fishing methods, but also solutions proven in the world for angling tourism. In our opinion, only the privatization of the lakes may bring improvement in the provision of tourist and fishing services in the future. During our visit to Finland, we visited the Ruunaa nature reserve, located along the Ruunaa creek. Magnificent forests, wild game, among them, by the stream, houses for anglers and tourists. Our admiration was aroused by a fishing card vending machine hanging on a tree. At any time, you can easily buy a card not only for days and weeks, but also for a few hours. Thanks to this money, the park with an area of several thousand hectares is properly looked after, great conditions for tourists and anglers. Thanks to that money, to the delight of anglers, this 30-kilometer section is restocked every year 6 tons of trout in different varieties.
Maybe this season we should not expect operating vending machines for selling fishing cards hung on the shores of Masurian lakes and rivers., but let us count on the symptoms of even a slow improvement in the quality of water and fish stocking.
We are waiting for statements regarding your expectations. We hope, that they will be a good guideline for new lake owners.