BY019
Bielaje fish farm


Year of compilation: 2002

Site description
The site is a large complex of small and large fish ponds surrounded by floodplain oak woods. There are two types of ponds: on-growing (3-8 ha) and fattening (about 50 ha). Most ponds are subject to very rapid overgrowth with vegetation, mainly by sedges and cattails. Fish ponds are different from natural high-production water bodies because they form an unlimited feeding base for birds in the form of fish and the artificial foodstuffs applied for their breeding.



Key biodiversity
Bieloie fishfarm is one of the region's largest breeding centres for many fish-eating and waterbirds. The following globally threatened species breed: White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla (1 pair) and Corncrake Crex crex (10 males). About 40-50 Black Storks Ciconia nigra stay here through the summer. But the biggest value of the IBA is that it is the sole Belarusian breeding ground of the very rare Smew Mergellus albellus (about 20 pairs).



Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Burning of reeds destroys the nesting grounds of many bird species, particularly in years when the burning is performed in late spring. Proliferation of predators The high density of Raccoon Dog, Fox, American Mink, and Marten limits the populations of many waterbirds. The declining application of artificial fish foodstuffs leads to substantial decreases in the populations of most waterbirds. Late pond filling in spring practiced in some years results in flooding of most nests.High mortality of birds of prey on power lines.



Protected areas
National Conservation Status: none



Habitat and land use
Large fish ponds, which are very overgrown with surface vegetation, dominate by area. The ponds are separated from each other by embankments covered with willow shrubs and birches. Overall, the ponds cover an area of 1,649 ha. The surrounding oak forests define the unique character of the IBA. The site is used for commercial aquaculture, with the main fish species bred being Carp. Bieloie is one of the most successful fishfarms in Belarus, with high profits year after year.




Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bielaje fish farm. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/01/2022.