January 2004


Landing sites

Picture 1. Major fishery sites: 1. Ural River. 2. Aral Sea (Northern or Little Aral). 3. Shardara reservoir. 4. Lake Balkhash. 5. Kapshagay reservoir. 6. Alakol lakes group. 7. Bukhtarma reservoir. 8. Shulba reservoir.


Table 1. Landings for major sites (tonne)



Percentage breakdown of 2000 catch




Lower Ural River
of which sturgeons

50 300
8 100

43 800
1 900

21 600
0 250


Bukhtarma reservoir

8 500

7 900

9 300


Balkhash lakes (including lower Ili river)

12 400

11 000

3 300


Alaklol lakes group

3 000

2 100

0 900


Kapshagay reservoir

0 800

1 100

0 700


Aral Sea

9 000

0 200

0 300


Shardara reservoir

1 700

2 500

0 360


Shulba reservoir

0 010

0 150



85 700

68 600

36 700


Source: Science and Production Centre of Fisheries of Kazakhstan (SPCF)

Fishery sector management

With the transformation to a market economy, the state management element in fisheries was reduced to basic monitoring of catch quantities. The controls carried out by the former authority, Kazakhstan fish committee ("Kazrybkhoz"), were abolished. Production passed into the hands of joint-stock companies and small local groupings of fishers. The result was a sharp decline in fish catches and a reduction in stock numbers of several valuable species.

Thus, for the state, there were problems in the areas of maintaining fish stocks in general, and conserving stocks of valuable species for future sustainable use. To deal with these problems, the management system was reviewed and a new management regime was introduced in phases, starting from late 2002 and still (late 2003) ongoing.

Fishery in the main water bodies (Ural-Northern Caspian basin, Balkhash basin, Bukhtarma and Shardara reservoirs) was centrally regulated. Regulation of fishery on other water bodies was provided for through local authorities.

The total catch quota is being established for each fishery. Distribution of the quota among the fishing entities is carried out on a competitive basis.

To implement the objectives, some technical measures are applied:

direct limitation of fishing zones through closed areas, seasonal or total;

closed seasons to ensure reproduction and survival of juveniles of commercially important fish species;

control over technical parameters of fishing gear, as defined in the FR;

minimum sizes for catches of each species;

research to assess stock resources and define potentials for development of new fisheries;

coordination of fishermen’s activities in organizing and carrying out fishing and related activities; and

requirements for fish re-stocking in artificial water bodies.

Special rules govern spring and autumn fishing seasons in rivers connected to the Northern Caspian (mostly the lower Ural River). An aquatic biological resources committee was founded with other Caspian states in 1992. It allots fishing quotas as recommendation among these states. In 2003, fishing was carried out on a cycle of 5 fishing days followed by 3 rest days, until 25 April, and then a cycle of 3 fishing days followed by 2 rest days after 25 April.

Control of movements of fish and fish products is carried out by customs officials.

Fishery sector institutions

1. The Ministry of Agriculture is the legal entity responsible for practical fisheries management in Kazakhstan. From 18 July 2003, within the framework of the Ministry of Agriculture, there is a Department of Fish Industry (see organigram). This department implements control of established fishing activities and collects fisheries statistics at the main landing sites. The various branches and regional offices of the Department are responsible for implementing fisheries legislation in the two main basins and at a regional level. The Department of Fish Industry does not have Internet access.

Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Fish Industry


Department of Fish Industry

Staff at end 2002: 6










Northern Caspian branch

Staff at end 2002: 378


Balkhash branch

Staff at end 2002: 175


Regional offices:
Aktubinsk – 4 staff;
Akmola – 4 staff;
Kostanay – 4 staff;
Southern Kakzakhstan – 4 staff;
Northern Kazakhstan – 4 staff;
Kzyl-Orda – 4 staff.

Total staff:  24.


14 state farms for raising fingerlings (mainly common carp, silver carp and grass carp)

Variable staff number.


2 state farm for raising fingerlings of sturgeons

Variable staff number.

In the framework of the Ministry of Agriculture, the
Institute of Fisheries was transformed to the Science and Production Centre of Fisheries of Kazakhstan (SPCF) at the end of 2002. SPCF has the mandate to develop fisheries policy, assess aquatic living resources, make recommendations regarding allowable volume of catch for each fishery or water body, collect fisheries information, elaborate new methods for aquaculture, assess new species of cultivated fishes, etc. SPCF consists of a head office in Almaty, and regional offices at the main landing places (see organigram). Total staff of the SPCF at the end of 2002 was 76 scientists.

Structure of Science and Production Centre of Fisheries of Kazakhstan (SPCF)


Head office













Caspian office (Atyrau)

Aral sea office

Balkhash lake office

Eastern office

2. The Committee of Forestry, Fisheries and Hunting of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Preservation of the Environment is responsible  on the control of fishing activities.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Preservation of the Environment


Ministry of Natural Resources and Preservation of the Environment









Committee on forestry, fisheries and hunting


Department of Central State Inspection of Preservation of the Environment












Department of animals


Branch of State Control for protection of living resources


Administrative organ of CITES








Aquatic animals and fisheries branch

Regional offices of protection of living resources






Local offices of forestry and living resources



General legal framework

The use of fish stocks is regulated by: the Law on Safe Reproduction and Use of the Animal Kingdom (1993); the Fisheries Rules (FR) (4 December 1996 #1480), and subsequent amendments; the Regulation of Amateur and Sport Fishery (12 December 1994 #122); and the Regulation on Protection of Fish Resources and Fishing Regulation (5 April 1995 #414). This legislation tries to establish the legal relation between different aspects of nature management, state and local control of fishery, and international responsibilities.

Investments and subsidies in fisheries

Significant indirect subsidies have supported reclamation and reproduction work. Thus, the average contributions for reclamation work in the Northern Caspian area were tenge 170 million (about US$ 1.2 million) per annum in 2000–2002. In the Northern Kazakhstan district, tenge 634 000 (about US$ 4 500) was spent for reclamation work in 2001.

Financial support for fishing inspectors and fisheries research has been limited, and researchers have had very little funding for systematic practical fieldwork.

Financial support for warm water fish farms and aquaculture is absent, with no support to the recreational fisheries sector.

Fish supply

Per capita fish consumption was forecast to increase by 2010, approaching recommended nutrition norms. There is expected to be an expansion in the range of products available in domestic markets. Processing capacity continues to be improved, and sustainability principles will become increasingly important in national fish production development.