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Fish get armed protection

Russia enhances fishery protection by allowing inspectors to carry arms. Photo: Trude Pettersen

Officials from the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency can now arm themselves with pistols, machine guns and submachine guns when on duty. A decree on this issue was signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev today.

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The decree tells which Fisheries Agency officials have the right to carry arms, what types and models of weapons that can be used and rules for use of the weapons.

According to the decree, fisheries inspectors have the right to carry Makarov pistols, Kalashnikov machine guns and different types of submachine guns. They can also use hunting rifles, stun guns, tear gas and other types of non-lethal weapons, Fishnews reports.

Nor Fishnews or the Government’s web site say anything about when fishery inspectors are allowed to make use of weapons in the protection of marine bio resources. There have been some incidents in Russia’s Far East when Russian coast guard vessels have fired upon poachers. 

Last year the Populist leader of Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky called for arming of Russian trawlers in order to protect themselves from Norwegian Coast Guard. “Such an action is unacceptable, it’s time to put the Norwegians in place”, Zhirinovsky said after the Russian trawler “Sapphire II” had been arrested for illegal dumping of fish in the fishery protection zone near Svalbard.