Lake Baikal is undergoing its gravest crisis in recent history, experts say, as the government bans the catching of a signature fish that has lived in the world’s deepest lake for centuries but is now under threat. Holding one-fifth of the world’s unfrozen fresh water, Baikal in Russia’s Siberia is a natural wonder of “exceptional value to evolutionary science” meriting its listing as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Starting in October, the government introduced a ban on all commercial fishing of omul, a species of the salmon family only found in Baikal, fearing “irreversible consequences for its population”, the Russian fisheries agency told AFP.

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