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Monday 19.03.2018 | Name days: Jāzeps

BIOR institute manager resigns

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Rafaels Joffe

Rafaels Joffe

Rafaels Joffe, Director of BIOR Food Safety, Animal Health and Environmental Science Institute, has stepped down. Starting from April 5, 2013, this post will be held by Olga Valcina.

“Scientific and administrative management should cooperate more closely. As a result of the reorganizations carried out in 2010, BIOR managed to achieve an increase in scientific work and get scientists of the institute involved in international projects. BIOR has a multi-industrial profile, and in order to advance the field of veterinary medicine, as well as that of food and the environment, it is necessary to integrate the work of the scientific council in the administrative management of the institute,” – Berzins says.

Berzins has been the Director of BIOR‘s R&D department since 2010. He organized and supervised the carrying out of a number of international research projects in Latvia, Finland, Denmark and other countries. He currently represents Latvia in the European Food Safety Authority’s Consultative Council.

He was elected in the BIOR Scientific Council after the Scientific Council submitted its explanation to the Agriculture Ministry in regard to the “eel procurement case” and when then the council’s Chairman Vadim Bartkevics announced his resignation.

BNN previously reported that the Agriculture Ministry has halted a more than 1 million LVL worth procurement of eel larvae, because the information had surfaced about possible inappropriate actions. Unofficial information suggests that the state could have overpaid at least four times the normal price for eel larvae in the past.

The European eel is a protected species, and their number is small. In Latvia as well. This is why gourmet’s were happy when the EU decided to add to Latvia’s eel population, allocating funding for this purpose.

The fact that the eel is a very sensitive fish, it cannot be artificially bred. It became clear that the larvae will need to be imported from foreign countries (England and France) where the larvae can be collected at specific times between February and April. The Agriculture Ministry entrusted the procurement process to BIOR state science centre, which has experience in fish breeding and research.

BIOR announced a contest. There was only one applicant – a company registered in the Czech Republic. In 2011, more than 300 thousand eel larvae were added to Latvia’s lakes and rivers. This cost the state 205 020 LVL. The same Czech company won the contest in 2012. Latvia’s water bodies received more than a million larvae. The costs were impressive as well – 576 800 LVL. The highest price one eel larva costs in Europe is 0.16 LVL. This is four times lower than the price BIOR paid in the first procurement year. Suspicions arose about a total expense increase in this project worth a total of 568 412 LVL. BIOR Director Rafaela Joffes’ developed requirements for contest candidates were high: they are required to have experience in international projects and work in the field of eel protection and population restoration.


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