Three sites in Ukraine removed from the Montreux Record

01/09/2003

The Ramsar Bureau is happy to announce that the Ukrainian Ramsar Sites Karkinitska and Dzharylgatska Bays, Tendrivska Bay and Yagorlytska Bay, at the request of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and in consultation with the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), have now been removed from the Montreux Record of Ramsar sites where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or are likely to occur, established through Resolution IV.8 during COP4 (1990). In 1996, COP6 adopted Resolution VI.1 which provides in its Annex "Working definitions, guidelines for describing and maintaining the ecological character of listed sites, and guidelines for operation of the Montreux Record". The latter asks Contracting Parties to submit information, according to a specific "Montreux Record-Questionnaire", for assessing possible inclusion or removal of a listed site from the Montreux Record. This procedure has now been completed by Ukrainian authorities and the three sites have been removed as of 29 August 2003.

Karkinitska Bay, on the northern Black Sea cost, was designated a Ramsar site in 1975 by the Soviet Union. In 1995, the Ukrainian government expanded the site to include Dzharylgatska Bay as well. Prior to this, the site was included in the Montreux Record in 1990 because runoffs from adjacent rice fields and fish production facilities and soda-bromide industry sewage created pollution and massive eutrophication of its waters with large algal blooms. Unregulated hunting and tourist pressure were also believed to contribute to the monitored decline in waterbirds. Since, the situation has substantially improved. The Ukrainian Marine Ecology Centre monitors water quality, now back at an acceptable level. Hydrocarbon and pesticide pollutants have decreased substantially, as well as industrial sewage. Zostera seagrass and Chara beds are covering large parts of the shallow bays again. The State Inspectorate of the Black Sea continues to monitor the water quality, in accordance with the Bucharest Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution, which Ukraine ratified in 1994. Currently, supported by the GEF project on biodiversity conservation in the Azov-Black Sea region, management plans are in preparation for all of Ukraine's 22 Ramsar Sites. The biological values of this site have been restored: it is an important area for breeding, migrating and wintering waterbirds and a spawning and nursery site for seven threatened fish species, including extremely endangered sturgeons.

Tendrivska Bay and Yagorlytska Bay, situated slightly further northwest, were designated as one Ramsar Site by the Soviet Union in 1975. The Ukrainian government split them into two adjacent sites in 1995. They were put on the Montreux Record in 1993 because of water quality degradation, as a consequence of inflows of polluted and highly eutrophicated runoffs, mainly from rice paddies, disturbance to waterbirds by military aircraft training activities, and commercial fishing activities. Here too, inflow of polluted waters into the bays was reduced substantially (partly due to a reduction of the rice farming area). With the decommissioning of the nearby military site, the bays are no longer used as training and target areas. Hunting regulations were brought into line with ecological requirements, reducing disturbance to breeding birds substantially. New breeding species settled in the area. The Charnomorskyi Biosphere Reserve, largely overlapping with the Ramsar sites, is monitoring indicators of the ecological character of these sites. Fishing is now only allowed in the Biosphere Reserve buffer zone, in a restricted way.

-- reported by Tobias Salathé, Ramsar.

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