Saturday, 16 November

A Fishy Business: MP’s Heavy Into Hatcheries

No verifiable data on well water usage 

Despite protestations raised by fish hatchery owners, the process of installing water meters has begun. RA Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan was personally present when the first meter was tested in the village of Sipanik. PM Sargsyan used the occasion to comment on recent press reports about efforts to monopolize the industry by certain of the country’s leading commercial enterprises. 

“Some claim that all this is being done in order that new monopolists can come to the fore in the water usage and fish hatchery sectors. Naturally, such claims are preposterous. Our actions prove that monitoring will begin with large commercial enterprises.” A complete list of the major water consuming fish hatcheries has already appeared on the Ministry of Nature Protection’s website.

According to this list the operation owned by Armen Buniatyan in the Armavir village of Gai is a major water consumer. The operation has four deep wells pumping out 450 liters per second. In second place is the operation of Artur Baghdasaryan, the brother of Rule of Law Party MP Artyom Baghdasaryan. His operation has five deep wells that pump out 406 liters of water per second.

The operation run by Konstantine and Sisters, Ltd., in the Armavir village of Jrarat, has five wells. We should note that besides founding this company, Grigor Grigoryan also has other fish raising facilities in Jrarat with another three wells. The only large-scale water consuming operation in the village of Gai is the AquaTexAvtomatika firm with nine wells.

One of the founders is Arkady Gevorgyan, former resident of the Fish Hatchery Operators’ Union. He employs seven other wells in the village of Araks and three more in Sis. Gevorg Grigoryan operates 14 wells in the Armavir village of Sayat-Nova. Karpalchayin CJSC operates 16 wells in Armash. EcoFish Trade, one of whose founders is MP Gagik Tsarukyan, runs two large wells. According to the State Registry, the other company founders are Karen Shahbazyan, Hovhannes H. Abrahamyan, Hovik Tasevosyan, Rafayel Sarkisyan and Arman Shahbazyan. The White Dolphin company runs eight deep wells in the Ararat village of Noramarg.

The operation belongs to Hrayr Hakobyan, the owner of Yerevan Champagne and Wine Factory. Last year, Hetq requested that the Nature Ministry make available the names of large water consuming enterprises. The names the Ministry gave us do not correspond to the list appearing on its website. For example, the name of Artur Baghdasaryan (the MP’s brother) isn’t included in the list they gave us. Gohar Yenokyan, an MP with Tsarukyan’s PAP, is one of the founders of Begas Fish. What is of particular interest is the fact that this company was listed in 2nd in terms of water consumption in the report provided by the Ministry, but has dropped to 78th place in the website rankings.

Gohar Yenokyan told Hetq that she owns a small share of Begas Fish stock and, in any event, the company is not presently operating. MP Yenokyan expressed her displeasure with the new water meter installation process, noting that the largest consumers should be the first to get them. It was senseless, she said, to install meters in non-operational enterprises like Begas Fish. She failed to note how water usage should be monitored in non-operational hatcheries. In an article entitled “Ecological Disaster or Consolidated Fish Farming”, Hetq also took a look at the fish hatchery in the Ararat village of Sis owned by MP Samvel Alexanyan.

The operation’s on-site “technician” stated that the hatchery was running 7-8 wells and that some were pumping out 300-400 liters of water per second. Try as we might, we couldn’t find Alexanyan’s company in the list provided by the Ministry. There is no such operation with this many wells registered in Sis. Consequently, either the list is imperfect, or all the wells run by Alexanyan haven’t been registered. Also, the data regarding water amounts in the Ministry list are somewhat dubious. We will broach this issue at a later date.

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