INFORMATION ON FISHERIES MANAGEMENT IN TURKMENISTAN

August 1998


LOCATION AND MAIN LANDING PLACES

The industrial fish and fish product landings are made at the only deep water fishing port in Turkmenbashi.


FISHERIES POLICIES AND PLANS

The Government of Turkmenistan has adopted a cautious approach towards the transition to a market economy, reflecting a need for stability and maintenance of economic output, avoidance of mistakes made by other CIS republics and the difficulty privatising large monolithic enterprises.

In January 1994 Halk Maslahaty (parliament) adopted a presidential economic programme. This again emphasises the fact that the economy is open to foreign investors and that the transition towards a market economy and privatisation are key components of the overall program. The program sets out targets for each of main sectors of the economy. Government policy is to become self sufficient in food and to be able to process all indigenously processed foodstuffs.

The fisheries sector is relatively small but is regarded as an important element in the food industry as it provides fish meal for the development of a modern cattle growing and poultry sectors. The fisheries sectors must provide a substitution for about 12000 tons frozen fish that used to be imported previously from Russia.

The immediate plans are to stop decline of catches in the Caspian Sea and fish farms production. Further plans envisage fleet and shore infrastructure renewal, industry restructuring and privatisation.


MANAGEMENT MEASURES IN USE

The management measures in use are typical for the centralised planned economy of the ex-USSR, part of which was Turkmenistan. The enterprises are given a plan, which gives them targets to be met. Price limits are still set by the government planners, though there is some freedom to adjust them depending on real situation.

The Government issues fishing permits but it is merely formal procedure as practically all-fishing vessels are state owned.

A joint Commission of all Caspian Sea countries sets TAC and they are given allocations.

Fishing is regulated by old rules from the USSR time. There are limits of the by-catch of undersize fish. According the old fishery regulations, which are still in force as there are no new regulations since the independence of Turkmenistan took place. The percentage of small size fish shall not exceed 20% of the catch. The minimum allowed size is 7 cm for the anchovy-like and bigeye kilka and 6 cm for ordinary kilka. The length is measured between the tip of the closed mouth of the fish and the base of the tail fin.


PRESENT ROLE OF FISHERIES IN THE NATIONAL ECONOMY

Fishing sector is small but is considered as a very important. It is the most advanced sector of the food industry in the respect of technology used. Fishing industry has a special place in the Government plans for achieving self-sufficiency in food supply of fish and fish products. The industry must provide fish meal for the development of a modern poultry and cattle growing industries.


ROLE OF THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR

All fishing industry is state owned. There is no private fishing sector at the moment in Turkmenistan. Kolkhozes are considered to be a specific form of collective private ownership, but they are engaged mostly in inland fisheries. Private companies are involved in retail sales of fish but they are too small to be considered as an important player.


INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN THE REGION

A distinctive feature of the Caspian Sea management was that more than 90% of the sea surface was under the jurisdiction and the control of the ex-USSR. There was an approach, based on the understanding that the Caspian Sea is an integrated ecosystem and its management and exploitation were done on the basis of common rules and regulations for all coastal countries. The regional managerial body - CASPRYBA - with headquarters in Astrakhan was formulating and after approval by the Ministry of Fisheries of the USSR was implementing policies concerning sea fisheries.

After Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan proclaimed independence, the Caspian Sea became a 'boundary' lake and a part of five states - Russia, Iran, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. All these states started establishing their own government bodies for management and regulation of the fisheries.

As a result, the previous ban on sturgeon fishing at the sea is abolished, or to be more precise is not observed anymore. This has as a consequence a widespread poaching, which is ruining the sturgeon stock.

The Russian side initiated several attempts to establish a new international cooperation in fisheries. Fishing organisations of Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed in December 1992 an agreement on quotas for kilka catch in 1993. The four states established a joint Commission on biological resources of the Caspian Sea, which deals with certain matters concerning fisheries, such as quotas, regulations, bans etc. The establishment of the Commission was a result of the urgent need for solution of the problems of common use of biological resources.


INVESTMENTS IN FISHERIES

There are no foreign investments in the fishing industry at the moment. As the Government is in a difficult financial position and the fishing industry is not a first priority there have not been major investments for the last few years.


MAIN FISHERIES REGULATIONS

In 1991, the Caspian Sea became a 'boundary' lake and a part of five states: Russia, Iran, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. These states established their own government bodies for management and regulation of the fisheries.

As a result of attempts undertaken by Russia to establish cooperation in the region, fishing organisations of Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed in December 1992 an agreement on quotas for kilka catch. The four states also established a joint Commission on biological resources of the Caspian Sea.


ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE OF THE NATIONAL FISHERIES AUTHORITY

The State Committee for Fisheries of Turkmenistan is responsible for the catching, processing and distribution of fish within the republic. The organisational structure of the State Committee and the main enterprise - Balkanbalyk are enclosed on fig 1 and fig. 2. The total staff of the Committee is 35. The total employment in the whole sector in 1996 was about 2200 persons.