By Diana Hristakieva
“The club is a national one. Fishermen from Sofia, Plovdiv, Burgas, Ruse, Pleven, Veliko Tarnovo etc. participate in its activities,"Stefan Minchev explains. "We have three ladies too – two of them are wives of our members that join them, but we also have a lady that is simply a member. She is a dentist and a keen fisherman. Experts in economy, lawyers, doctors, journalists etc. are among our members. We receive new members each year, requiring the references of at least two people, because several poachers tried to enter over the years and we shouldn’t allow that to happen. One of our main goals is the fight with poaching and the protection of fish resources. We have about 15 activities per year, for instance environmental ones – we clean different rivers and provide new fish quantities for those. We organize children’s schools etc.”
“Our children’s schools are free for the kids. They receive fishing rods, reels, spinning baits etc., as well as a diploma. We pay for everything, with the support of our friends and donors. Basically, predatory fish - trout, chub, perch, catfish and others are our priority. I haven’t caught salmon yet, but hopefully this autumn I will visit Scotland and will do it. I have practiced my hobby in nearly all European countries. Bulgaria is rich in fishing spots, we have many nice rivers that cleaned up a bit over the past years due to the lack of the previous industry. We have dozens of dams too. Unfortunately, poaching is a major problem…”
The club supported voluntarily actions of the state authorities in charge of the fight against poachers with cars, boats etc. Is poaching such a serious issue?
“Many people have turned poaching into a profitable business. Fish is being smuggled for neighboring Romania across the Danube Bridge via illegal channels. So the problem is a serious one. A huge amount of fish is caught illegally each month. The Bulgarians are innovative, as far as poaching is concerned. Even in Rila and Pirin mountains we have seen people with backpacks, carrying some fishing net in them and headed towards the lakes. However, poaching is a major problem for the dams of Ticha, Batak, Dospat, Iskar and others, where cars can have an easy access and boats can be used too. The penalty provided includes fees of up to EUR 750 that is not that much, as there is a problem with collecting this money either. Poaching should be incriminated, because if a poacher or two are imprisoned, the others will think again before continuing with their illegal doings.” More....