The United Nations declared the year 2002 the "International Year of Mountains" and FAO was given the lead agency role to promote and coordinate the observance of this global event. The International Year of Mountains was an excellent opportunity to initiate steps to protect mountain ecosystems, to promote peace and stability in mountain regions and to help mountain people attain their goals and aspirations. By early December 2002, more than 70 countries in all continents had established, or were planning to establish, an International Year of Mountains national committee and the process to shape and implement lasting solutions to mountain problems has just only begun.
As a contribution to the International Year of Mountains, the FAO Fisheries Department decided to have this publication prepared to raise the awareness of the importance of inland capture fisheries and aquaculture in mountain areas of developing countries. Dr T. Petr, consultant for the FAO Fisheries Department and former staff member of the FAO Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service, prepared this document. The overall supervision for the preparation laid with Gerd Marmulla, FAO Fishery Resources Officer and FI Focal Point for the FAO Interdepartmental Working Group on Mountains.
The role of inland capture fisheries and aquaculture in mountain regions has rarely been fully acknowledged in the past. The Symposium on Coldwater Fishes of the Trans-Himalayan Region, held in Kathmandu in July 2001, was a first step to do so on a regional level. It is expected that this publication will contribute to improve on a wider scale the understanding of the significance that fisheries can have for sustaining the livelihoods of certain mountain populations.