Fisheries and aquaculture in the Republic of Azerbaijan: a review





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Following the general tendency of the former Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, fishing and the production of fish and fish products declined considerably in the early 1990s. Fish production statistics show that fish production in the Republic of Azerbaijan (or Azerbaijan) amounted to more than 20 000 tonnes annually in the early twentieth century, and that by the end of the century the catches had declined to just 1 570 tonnes. As a result, the demand for fish products, such as sprat, herring, Caspian salmon and sturgeon, in the global market increased considerably. Fish imports into Azerbaijan are relatively stable, characterized by a moderate increase. While imports increased by 21.78 percent between 2003 and 2007, the same index did not exceed a 1 percent increase in 2006. Exports in terms of quantity are not characterized by high rates. Sturgeon and black caviar make up the majority of fish exports, and, where relevant, the export-import operations are carried out in line with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, as the Caspian sturgeon is included in its Appendix II. The sudden increases in export volumes can be explained by the different catch quotas for sturgeon in the various years of the period concerned. Compared with the global average consumption of fish and fish products, which equals 18.8 kg per capita, the consumption of fish-derived products in Azerbaijan is low, i.e. 3.4 kg per capita. Such low consumption is the result of both high product prices determined by insufficient domestic production and the immaturity of the distribution network. No doubt, old traditions of fish consumption still exist in Azerbaijan and could be exploited if better conditions are created. Some structural transformations occurred in 2001 within the framework of economic reforms in the republic. Under the Decree of the President of Azerbaijan Republic No. 811, dated 18 September 2001, Azerbalyg State Concern was liquidated. The department of the State Concern that dealt with the reproduction and protection of fish and fisheries’ resources, as well as the Research Institute of Fisheries (AzerFRI), was included in the newly created Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has signed 12 international conventions, three of which are related to water resources. These are: (i) the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora; (ii) the Convention on Biological Diversity; and (iii) the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea (Tehran Convention). Moreover, Azerbaijan is a member of the Commission on Aquatic Bioresources of the Caspian Sea, which was established in 1992.

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FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular