Minister Borislav Sandov prohibited the import and breeding of minks due to biodiversity damage

01 Jun, 2022 | 12:47


An order by the Minister of Environment and Water Borislav Sandov prohibits the import and breeding of the American mink (Neovison vison) on the territory of Bulgaria. Today, the minister signed the order under the Biodiversity Act. This decision aims to reduce the total number of specimens of the American mink species in order to reduce the risk of release into the wild, as well as the direct threat to biodiversity in Bulgaria.

“The ban on breeding and import of minks in Bulgaria is already a fact. After the public discussion and the collected opinions and comments, I signed the final order for the prohibition. These animals are an invasive species for Bulgaria, which causes serious damage to local ecosystems,” said Minister Borislav Sandov. He reminded that the conditions in the only farm in our country are unfavorable and therefore in recent years minks have escaped and entered wildlife areas thereby causing damage. During the public discussion at the Ministry of Environment and Water more than 4500 opinions were received on the draft order, of which more than 4000 support the ban.

Due to its strong negative impact on biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as on the economy in Europe, the species is included by scientists under number 19 in the list of 100 most dangerous invasive species in Europe and priority invasive species for Bulgaria.

In the last 20 years, in the EU a number of countries have introduced bans on the extraction of valuable animal skins, including from the American mink species - Great Britain, Austria, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, France, Slovakia, Hungary, Luxembourg, and Belgium. There is a ban on breeding minks and animals for valuable skins in Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland, where the requirements for the conditions of breeding, accommodation, welfare, etc. are so heightened that there is no economic efficiency for these farms. Outside the EU, a ban on breeding animals for their valuable skins has been introduced in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Israel, New Zealand, parts of the United States and Canada, and others.

The order will enter into force once published in the State Gazette. It will also be published on the website of the Ministry of Environment and Water.

The American mink is a predatory species with a natural habitat in North America. Due to its valuable skin, it was artificially bred on farms and as a result was introduced (intentionally or accidentally) in many countries around the world, where it established populations in the wild. The species, in addition to being a very aggressive predator, is also a highly adaptable competitor with negative impacts on native bird species, rodents, amphibians, and aquatic (fish, crabs) organisms, and causes serious damage to poultry and fish farming.