January 2003



Before the 1960s, the Aral Sea provided the main fishery of Uzbekistan. This landlocked sea was rich in fish and Uzbekistan caught about 25 000 tonne/year of commercial fish. However, the Aral Sea has dwindled and now has extremely high salinity (74–90 g/litre). As a result, in fishery terms, it is only of minor importance today. Therefore, during the 1970s, fishery effort transferred to other waterbodies inland.

In the Aral Sea basin, the irrigated area increased from 2.0 million hectare in 1925 to 7.2 million hectare in the 1980s. A huge and extensive network of irrigation and drainage canals has been created, tying together different river basins into one network. Irrigation systems in Uzbekistan include reservoirs, irrigation canals, drainage canals and lakes for drainage water. In fact, there are no waterbodies with a natural stock regime in the part of the country on the plains – all rivers are stocked and used as part of the irrigation system.

In Uzbekistan, capture fisheries are practised in freshwater irrigation and multi-use reservoirs, and in the lakes for collection of irrigation system drainage water. Two groups of such lakes are of major importance for capture fisheries (Table 1). Lakes in the Amudarya delta provide about 1 500 tonne/year of fish from the 20 lakes, whose areas vary from 4 000 to 15 000 ha, covering a total of 97 000 ha. The second group is the Aydar-Arnasai Lake System, situated in the middle stream of the Syrdarya River. In 1994, 760 tonne of fish were caught, and 1 600 tonne in 2000. A major problem is that the level regime reflects irrigation requirements, and so waterbodies can change significantly from year to year, thus constraining systematic fisheries development.

Of regional importance is the fishing in lakes and reservoirs in lower stretches of the Kashkadarya and Zerafshan rivers, although together they provide less than 10 percent of the country’s total fishery catch (excluding aquaculture).

There is therefore no longer any basis for large-scale fisheries in Uzbekistan, which means that attention has now shifted to aquaculture.

Table 1.  Main landing places for fisheries in Uzbekistan

Lake system

Area (ha)(1)

Quantity landed, 1998–2001 (tonne)

Lakes in the Amudarya delta

97 000

550 – 1 200

Aidar-Arnasay Lake System

400 000

1 500 – 2 000

Note:  (1) The area can change between years due to irrigation goals and water balance


Until 1994, capture fishery was virtually the monopoly of enterprises of the State Committee for Fisheries of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Enterprises based on other forms of property did not exist in the fisheries sector. In addition, fish resources protection and ecological control was implemented by the former All-Soviet Ministry of Fisheries.

Following independence, fisheries organization in Uzbekistan was divided into two sectors: protection and control of fish stocks use; and fishing.

Sport and recreational fisheries have developed at the local level, and there are branches of the Uzbekistan fishing club and other fishing clubs in big cities, but overall the level of organization is limited.

Protection and control of fish stocks use

All fish stocks that have formed under natural conditions in waterbodies belong to the state, and have been declared aquatic biological resources. Their use for fisheries, as well as the control of the ecological conditions of waterbodies, is regulated by a number of laws on nature protection. Responsibility for ensuring that the laws are observed rests with the State Committee for Nature Protection. The basic law regarding the use of biological resources in Uzbekistan is the Law on Nature Protection, adopted by the Uzbek Parliament on 9 December 1992.

Fishery can be effected by enterprises of various legal forms. Fish catching is conducted by juridical and physical persons, based on: (1) state ecological assessment of projected fishing areas, (2) resource abundance (fish stock quantity determined through studies), and (3) quotas for catch, contracts of registration of waterbodies, their protection and fish breeding.

In conformity with decree No. 95 of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan, adopted on 14 April 1991, state protection of animals and state inspection of departmental protection is conducted by a special agency, The Republican State Inspectorate for Protection and Sustainable Use of the Animal and Plant Worlds (Gosbiokontrol), established under the State Committee on Protection of Nature, develops guidelines for the protection of animals and plants, conformity to which is mandatory for all ministries, state committees, agencies, organizations and individual citizens.

In addition, Gosbiocontrol has developed Rules of Fisheries. The current Rules of Fisheries (Instruction on the Utilization of Fish Stocks) was adopted by State Committee for Nature Protection on 15 April 1997 and registered in the Ministry of Justice on 1 May 1997.

Capture fisheries

This is performed by fisheries enterprises. The main fisheries enterprises remain those created under the former All-Soviet Ministry of Fisheries, although transformed according to recent economic reforms. Ownership of the newly created enterprises resides in effect almost entirely in the former Ministry of Fisheries – shares owned by other entities are less than 3 percent of the total.

Between 1994 and 1998, the various fishery-related enterprises were denationalized, becoming independent joint-stock companies, wherein up to 25 percent of shares in the authorized capital stock belonged to the state. However, the companies remained associated with the State Joint Stock Corporation Uzbalik, to which the government passed its shares for management. This preserved the fishery of Uzbekistan as a manageable branch of industry, but hindered attracting external capital, as potential investors consider the involvement of the state in the joint stock companies to be too high. In 2001, the government made one more step toward fully denationalizing fish farms, having transferred the state-owned shares to the authorized capital stock of the (reformed) Uzbalik. This was done through Resolution No. 289 – On improvement of the system of fishery management – of the Cabinet of Ministers, adopted on 6 July 2001. The share of the state in the authorized capital stock of Uzbalik remained 51%, while the other shares were sold.

Thus, all fish production has been transferred to fish farms of varying legal status, while Uzbalik has been entrusted with the necessary powers for regulation of fish farms.

Beginning with the second half of the 1990s, enterprises of the former State Committee for Fisheries (i.e. set up in the soviet era) engaged in fisheries in Uzbekistan and were associated under Uzbalik. In addition, new, independent, enterprises (both fisheries and aquaculture) have emerged independent of Uzbalik, but their share in fish production is low.

In effect, there is no state ministry responsible for the fisheries and aquaculture sector in Uzbekistan. In part, the duties of such a ministry are performed by Uzbalik.

The possibility of managing fisheries development as an industry derives from the fact that Uzbalik has a 25 percent share in all fisheries and aquaculture enterprises remaining from the former soviet era.

Management in the field of fisheries and aquaculture is carried out by Uzbalik, which is a legal entity, but not funded from government budget allocations. In 2002, the total staff was 17. Its office is in Tashkent (the capital), with no regional units. The activities and structure of Uzbalik are defined by procedural rules adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Resolution No. 289 of the Cabinet of Ministers notes that the reform has been carried out with the aim of further promoting the processes of denationalizing fish industry enterprises, developing a competitive environment, and modernizing and re-equipping the fishery industry, including through attracting foreign investment.

Basic functions of Uzbalik

The basic functions of Uzbalik are:

  • developing and implementing medium- and long-term programmes for fisheries development;

  • marketing surveys and preparing measures to increase fish production;
  • assisting capture fishery, aquaculture and processing enterprises to implement reforms, and to attract investments for technological re-equipping and re-structuring; and

  • assessing the state of fish resources, organizing the fish breeding sector, conducting work on improvement of water bodies, and realizing measures for prophylaxis and control of fish diseases in aquaculture.

Organizational structure of Uzbalik

The Fisheries, Aquaculture and Fish Processing Department is responsible for implementing the harmonized fisheries legislation (covering conservation and reproduction of fishery resources, and control of established fishing activities in inland waters); aquaculture programme development; promoting the development of fishery enterprises; and fish processing development, including assisting the Muinak fish cannery in fish supply matters.

The Privatization, Capital Investment, Marketing and Price Formation Department is responsible for completing the privatization process, allocating shares in fisheries enterprises, developing projects and attracting external depositors. Special attention is paid to marketing and price formation.

The Small- and Medium-scale Business Development, Re-adjustment of Land and Technical Resources Department is responsible for promoting private capital formation in fisheries and aquaculture. Special attention is paid to multipurpose utilization of land, water and technical resources.

The Economic, Finance and Accounting Department handles the economic and financial matters of Uzbalik.

In addition there are sections for Administrative Services and for Personnel and Control.

Organizational structure of Uzbalik


Personnel and control section

(Staff – 2)




Administrative services

(Staff – 6)




Deputy Chairman



























Fisheries, Aquaculture and Fish Processing Department.

(Staff – 4)


Privatization, Capital Investment, Marketing and Price Formation Department.

(Staff – 3)


Small- and Medium-scale Business Development, Re-adjustment of Land and Technical Resources Department.

(Staff – 3)


Economic, Finance and Accounting Department.

(Staff – 3)













includes organizations such as the Institute of Aquaculture, the Fish Disease and Fish Certification Service, and the State Regional Hatchery.

All former fisheries enterprises were privatized and associated under Uzbalik, and their current relationship within that association is shown below.

Interrelationships of entities under the Uzbalik umbrella








































20 fishery and aquaculture enterprises



Research Institute of Aquaculture



Chinaz Combined Food Factory















Fish Disease and Fish Certification Service
























2 repair and construction enterprises






State Regional Hatchery










The major stakeholders in fisheries enterprises are the employees of those enterprises, together with local businessmen. Uzbalik is working on attracting foreign capital.

Currently, Uzbalik and other fisheries enterprises have no Internet links.


Fishery sector overview

Uzbekistan, situated at the heart of Eurasia and lying in the landlocked basin of the Aral Sea, has no outlet to seas or oceans. Due to the planned economies and a complete orientation within the former Soviet Union to using the basin of the Aral Sea region for crops (mainly cotton), production was based on extensive technologies using large-scale irrigation networks. The whole flow into the Aral Sea was diverted, such that the annual inflow into the Aral Sea from Uzbekistan fell from 50–53 km3 1960 to 0–10 km3 in the 1990s. Inflow from the rivers Amudarya and Syrdarya into the Aral Sea has almost ceased. The subsequent catastrophic shrinking of the Aral Sea, deterioration of water quality and the rapid desertification developing in the last decades has resulted in the death of the Aral Sea as a fisheries waterbody. Catches fell from ca 25 000 tonne/year in the 1960s to 53 tonne in 1983, and fishing moved inland to freshwater lakes, rivers and irrigation reservoirs.

The level regimes in all freshwater bodies are regulated for agriculture purposes, and ignore the biological requirements of commercial fish stocks. Government accepts this and so fisheries are not considered a national priority. The government decided to privatize fisheries completely and provided a suitable free market environment for the sector.

Though the fisheries sector contributes less than 0.1 percent to overall national GDP, it is important for the rural people of some less-developed areas in the Lower Amudarya and Mid-Syrdarya. Inland waterbodies can maintain production of healthy food protein, as well as providing recreational fishing. This provides an opportunity for the rural population to diversify their economic activities and earn additional income.

Fishing is carried out by enterprises created from the former soviet system, by newly created private enterprises and by individual fishers, operating under a fishing licence system (Table 2).  There is total private ownership of open-deck boats and nets.

As a result of the Aral Sea crisis, the Muinak fish cannery has had no raw material. Previously, about 17 million of cans were produced annually. The last year’s production fell to 254 000 cans.  Due to the small quantity of fish production, fish processing in Uzbekistan has developed only in small-scale, local forms.

All trade in fish and fishery products, including import, export and re-export, is now carried out by private companies and individuals. In the former USSR, about 60–70 000 tonne of frozen and canned fish was imported to Uzbekistan each year, but imports have now fallen to insignificant levels.

The usual foods of Uzbekistan are vegetables, fruit, milk and meat, consumed in large quantities. Nevertheless, the fisheries resources of the country have a significant role to play in providing healthy food, improving income and generating employment.

Table 2.  Commercial catches (tonne) in Uzbekistan





2 720

3 900

3 400

4 100

The fisheries (including aquaculture) create direct benefit to at least 4 800 persons. Due to the sharp decrease in fish production in the mid-1990s, nominal annual per capita consumption is low, at less than 1 kg.


Government has not yet developed priorities in the field of fisheries, and fisheries and aquaculture are not considered national economic priorities. Development of fisheries has been left to private business.

The principle objectives for the fisheries sector are:

  • sustainable development of fish resources; recovery, improvement and protection of biological equilibrium; diversification of the fish resources in the country's ecosystems; and restocking with commercial species;

  • promotion of the development of commercial fishing and angling, fisheries and aquaculture;

  • implementation of responsible fishery practices; and

  • fostering the consumption of fish and fishery products with a view to improving nutrition.

In general, the national fishery sector has two main subsectors, namely freshwater aquaculture and inland capture fisheries.

Government strategy

At present, the Government-led reforms in the Uzbekistan economy focus on areas other than fisheries, as fishery is not considered a primary industry, and no official strategy has been developed. In the second half of the 1990s, fisheries were privatized so that the fisheries industry had to function without state budgetary assistance. So far, no state projects have been developed in fisheries.

The reforms in fisheries have not yet finished. Local entrepreneurs, administrations and local populations are not aware of opportunities for the development of fisheries, including the potential in aquaculture. Although no official policy exists for fisheries, the legal basis for the development of fisheries under free market conditions has been created in general.

It can be expected that the government will pay attention to the development of fisheries in the near future.


Commercial fishing in inland waterbodies

Inland waterbodies in the basins of the Syrdarya, Amudarya, Kashkadarya and Zerafshan rivers are an important source of employment for local fishermen and a source of valuable animal protein for the riparian population (Table 3).

Table 3. Fish catches in the main water systems, Uzbekistan

River system

Number and type of waterbodies

Fish catch (2001; tonne)

Lower Amudarya

30 lakes and lakes for drainage waters

1 500

Middle Amudarya

6 lakes and lakes for drainage waters
3 reservoirs


Middle Syrdarya

3 lakes for drainage waters

1 990

River Kashkadarya

2 reservoirs


River Zerafshan

3 reservoirs


The main stocks exploited are given in Table 4.

Table 4. Main fish species caught in Uzbekistan

Fish Species

Catch (tonne)






Bream, Abramis brama






Common carp, Cyprinus carpio






Roach, Rutilus rutilus






Grass carp, Ctenopharyngodon idella






Silver carp, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix






Other cyprinids






Pike, Esox esox






European catfish, Siluris glanis






Pike-perch, Stizostedion lucioperca






Snakehead, Channa argus






Other fish species







3 075

2 715

3 927

3 386

4 078

Countrywide, small-scale fisheries units operate in waterbodies using motorized open-deck boats. The average catch for one net (75 m long by 2 m deep) is 3–5 kg/day. Fishermen use mostly gill nets. The number of seines decreased because of difficulty in using them due to continual water-level changes.  For example, the Aidar-Arnasay lake system depth ranges over several metres every year; in 1991 the area was 175 000 ha, but was about 400 000 ha in 2002. The main reason for the irregular fluctuation is that river flow is regulated not from one centre as before, but from five newly independent central Asian republics.

Organization of fishing in Uzbekistan

Fishing is carried out by legal entities on the basis of permits for specific sites or waterbodies in general use.  The permits are issued by administrative bodies responsible for nature protection. Fishing is not permitted without a valid permit.  Permits have a validity of up to ten years.

In practice, fisheries enterprises have their offices in towns, with fishing units (groups of 4–15 crew) landing on the waterbody shore. Big enterprises can have 20–40 such units, while small enterprises would be 1–3 such units.

All fisheries enterprises have a quota, which is stated in the permit and must not be exceeded.  The licence quota is based on information from Uzbalik or the regional branches of Gosbiokontrol.

The licensing system (quota) was extended in the 1990s, based on a system developed in the former USSR. The main purpose of the licensing system is to define the terms, conditions and parameters of fishing activities so as to be able to protect, monitor and maintain the production of the fish stock.

Various management strategies have been formulated to control fishing effort and promote rehabilitation and conservation of aquatic resources and ecosystems. These measures include:

  • Direct limitation of fishing effort through licensing of fishing gear and fishing vessels.

  • Closed seasons and places to ensure reproduction and survival of juveniles of commercially important fish species.
  • Prohibition of catch of endangered fish species, including three species of shovelnose (Pseudoscaphirhynhus hermani, P. kaufmani, P. fedtchenkoi), Aral sturgeon (Acipenser nudiventris), Aral trout (Salmo trutta aralensis) and Aral barbel (Barbus brachycephalus).

Management measures to control fishing effort, implemented through the legal and institutional framework, include:

  • Direct limitation of fishing effort. Licences are renewed for only one fiscal year (1 January - 31 December).

  • Registration of fishing gear. This programme controls quantity and quality of fishing gear. Some kinds of gear are prohibited.

  • Registration of fishermen. This programme controls entry of new individuals into the fishing industry. Every fisher is required to be registered and anybody working, living or staying on a landing place of a fishery unit must have a fisher's registration card.

All fisheries enterprises pay for using state fish resources. Payments reflect quota and fish species. Tax-related costs are related to the minimal state salary in Uzbekistan and are low at less than 1 percent of final fish cost.

Conservation and rehabilitation of resources

Conservation and rehabilitation of aquatic resources in Uzbekistan must be seen in the context of sustainable use, and applying equally to all the Aral Sea basin. The most valuable fisheries resources of the basin are cyprinids and some other freshwater commercial fishes.

Prohibition of fishing gear

Fishing gear that is destructive to the environment or to fisheries resources is banned. Banned gear includes explosives; poisons and narcotics; electrical fishing; bottom trawls; dredges; firearms; and harpoons (banned in freshwater basins only).

Fishing is prohibited near bridges, dams, within 500 m of aquaculture farms, within 150 m of river and canal mouths, and in newly created reservoirs until authorized by Gosbiokontrol.

Closed seasons for breeding are:

  • in the rivers Amudarya and Syrdarya from 10 March to 25 April;

  • in waterbodies of Karakalpakstan and Khoresm from 25 April to 10 June;

  • in all other water bodies from 16 April to 31 May; and

  • a special closed season for amudarya trout in the rivers Tupalang and Sangardak from 5 September to 25 October.

Minimum permitted mesh sizes are:

  • gillnets - 36 mm; and

  • seine nets - 36 mm in purse and 40 mm in wings.

The minimum fish sizes (body length, centimetres) that may be caught are:

  • Common carp 24 - 30 (according river)

  • Bream 20 - 28

  • Barbel 32 - 36

  • Asp 36 - 45

  • Crucian carp 26

  • Pike-perch 36 - 38

  • Roach 17

  • Amudarya trout 24

  • Varicorhinus capoeta 22 - 24

  • Chalcalburnus chalcoides 16 - 19

  • Pelecus cultratu 22

  • Schizothorax intermedius 18
  The maximum permitted shares of juveniles in commercial catches are:
  • Common carp, bream, barbel, asp, pike-perch, crucian carp 5%

  • Roach, white eye, Chalcalburnus chalcoides, Pelecus pelecus 10%.
Input controls 

Under the current fisheries rules, fishing effort in Uzbekistan is controlled by the licensing and registration system for fishing vessels and fishing gear.

Gosbiokontrol establishes and maintains the following registers:

  • fishing licences issued;

  • angling permits issued; and

  • control of fish catch.

Commercial fishing can be carried out by enterprises registered with the local authority. Commercial fishing licences are issued by Uzbalik (for enterprises associated under Uzbalik) or Gosbiokontrol (for all others). Applicants for a fishing licence may be users of fishing vessels acting on their own behalf and fishing gear. When engaged in commercial fishing, licences must be kept at the landing place of the relevant fishery unit. Commercial fishing licences have to be renewed every year. 

The commercial fishing licence shall clearly state the following:

  • The issuing authority.

  • Data concerning fishing vessel identification.

  • The location and zone of operation (on the bank) for commercial fishing.

  • Quantity and quality of fishing gear.

  • List of fishermen in unit.

Each fishery unit must maintain a logbook.  Logbooks have to be issued by Uzbalik (for enterprises associated under Uzbalik) or Gosbiokontrol branches. The sample format and procedures for logbook keeping shall be provided by ordinance of Uzbalik or Gosbiokontrol. The logbook shall contain data on quantity (kg) of each species caught. The logbook must be submitted to the regulatory authorities (Gosbiokontrol and Uzbalik) upon request.

Upon landing the catch, the persons effecting the commercial fishing must fill in a declaration of origin in the proper format and submit it to the fishery enterprise. The declaration of origin must contain information about the place of catching and catch amounts by species.

Output control

At present no Individual Transferable Quotas apply in Uzbekistan fisheries.

Uzbalik (for its associated enterprises) and local administrations (for all fisheries enterprises) control first sales notes. All fishermen are obliged to fill in a waybill with information on quantities caught and fishing zones. A copy of the landing declaration must be submitted to the fisheries enterprises offices for the purpose of collecting operational catch information, which is reported by all enterprises to Gosbiokontrol on an annual basis, and additionally on a monthly basis to Uzbalik for Uzbalik enterprises.

Control on fish resources

Biodiversity control for aquatic resources is the responsibility of Gosbiokontrol. The Institute of Aquaculture and other research institutes monitor fish stocks (size and structure, reproduction, etc.) and develop total allowable catch limits for major water bodies. Gosbiokontrol allocates quotas to fisheries enterprises depending on their application, and enterprises distribute the quotas among their fisheries units.

Gosbiokontrol has a special division for Fishery Inspection, and its officers monitor:

  • the status and maintenance of the aquatic gene pool;

  • production, transportation and stocking with genetic material;

  • fishing licences and angling permits;

  • fishing gear and tackle, and auxiliary installations and material; and

  • compliance with the terms and conditions for use of fish resources.

The control exercised by fishery inspection officers are carried out on the basis of checks and inspections of landing place, fishing vessels, fishing gear, documentation, etc.

The operational catch data is processed and kept by Gosbiokontrol and Uzbalik, and used for monitoring purposes.

Legal basis for management

Day-to-day management of fisheries enterprises is conducted by a director (manager). Officially, a director is elected by shareholders on the basis of their share. Directors have to develop programmes and they have to be confirmed by shareholders. However, the soviet system has strong roots at all levels of the economy; directors in many enterprises are de facto selected by Uzbalik, and shareholders do not know their rights.

Projection of supply and demand

At present, the future of fisheries in inland water in Uzbekistan is uncertain due to the exigencies of the economic situation. During the first years of independence, the main tasks were to reform the industry from planned-economy to free-market conditions, from budget financing to private, to find shareholders, and so on. In fact, former state capital was distributed to private shareholders, and real capital did not enter. Young local businessmen do not know how to find distributors and partners to develop new projects. This process should develop in the near future, but currently there is no such programme active.  The government’s goal is to provide local markets with 3 000–4 000 tonne of fish from inland waters. The main limitation is the fact that the Aral Sea basin is operated first and foremost for irrigation purposes.


Lacking marine water resources, especially in the light of the degradation of the Aral Sea basin, Uzbekistan’s principal focus for fish production is in aquaculture. Aquaculture is the most important sector of the fish industry, providing 60 to 80 percent of total fish production. It takes only one form – pond fish farming. In the 1970s and 1980s, average production from fish farming was 23 000 tonne/year, with a peak of 28 000 tonne, but fell in the mid-1990s.

The major fish species cultured are silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), common carp (Cyprinus carpio), grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) and crucian carp (Carasius auratus). Fish culture production is shown in Table 5.

Table 5.  Aquaculture production in Uzbekistan (tonne)






Silver carp and bighead carp (ratio about 9:1)

6 000

4 900

4 300

3 100

Common carp and grass carp (ratio about 5:3)





Crucian carp










In general, extensive culture is practised, using low stocking densities (e.g. 1-3 million larvae, 20-30 thousand fry, 4-6 000 one-year-old fish per hectare) and low supplemental feeding, although fertilization is used to stimulate growth and production of natural feed in the water. The earth ponds used are gigantic (ponds for fingerling production: 10-50 ha; fattening ponds: 50-100 ha or more) and shallow (1-2 m). Annual production is generally low, ca 1-2 tonne/ha. Fish farm design paid close attention to engineering design and layout for effective water management, but this technology was developed under planned-economy conditions, with budget financing according to area of ponds; the technology ignored profitability. This is the main reason for fish production decreasing in the mid-1990s with the move to free-market conditions.

Uzbekistan has great potential for aquaculture development because the climatic conditions are very suitable, but reconstruction to provide more economic production will be essential.

Organization of aquaculture in Uzbekistan

Fish culture is conducted by enterprises. Most of them are former state fish farms, located in all regions of the country, which were privatized in 1994–2002 and associated under Uzbalik. They are private, but Uzbalik has a quarter share in all of them. In Uzbalik today there are 15 carp and 1 trout farms in operation. They breed and raise fish to marketable size. The total pond area is 10–11 000 ha.

New, privately owned, fish farms can be created under current legislation, and there are a few such small fish farms, but with total production less than 1 percent of Uzbalik production.

Government main goals

Government aims for the sector reflect those for the economy in general: maintain jobs, achieve former production levels and develop new projects through restructuring, diversification, investments and so forth. Currently there are no aquaculture-specific goals, although a major goal for Uzbalik aquaculture fish farms is to produce 10 000 tonne in 2002 and to increase it to 15 000 tonne/year by 2005.

Institutional arrangements

Aquaculture enterprises operate under the general legislation, mainly agricultural. Land and water are state property, and land area is provided rent-free for fish farms, but water used by fish farms must be purchased. The quantity of water used is calculated as the difference between water in ponds in spring and that remaining in autumn. Fish farms pay taxes on the same basis as other agriculture enterprises.

Uzbalik develops a programme for fish culture production and coordinates it at the Cabinet of Ministers level. Government assigns Uzbalik enterprises a quota for production inputs deriving from other state resources or enterprises, such as inorganic fertilizer, gasoline and formulated feed. The cost of these goods is lower than on the free market, but the trend is to reduce such preferential support.

Aquaculture enterprises coordinate plans with the Uzbalik plans and programmes, but enterprises are economically independent.

Uzbalik has a Fish Disease and Fish Certification Service and an Institute of Aquaculture, and provides all aquaculture farms with their services. Uzbalik develops new technologies and provides fish farms with all relevant information. The main technology goal during 1996–2002 was to develop profitable extensive technology on the basis of the former soviet one. Today, fish culture has the potential to be profitable on all fish farms.

Legal basis for management

Day-to-day management of fisheries enterprises is conducted by a director (manager). Officially, a director is elected by shareholders on the basis of their share. Directors have to develop programmes and they have to be confirmed by shareholders. However, the soviet system has strong roots at all levels of the economy; directors in many enterprises are de facto selected by Uzbalik, and many shareholders do not know their rights. However, those shareholders that bought shares on the stock exchange understand their rights and interests and take an active part in the decision-making process. Such a positive process has happened in two of the largest enterprises (Baliktchy and Khoresm fish farms). This process is expected to develop in future.

Projection of supply and demand

Uzbekistan has a very low level of fish consumption, with a nominal per capita consumption of less than 1 kg. In former soviet times consumption was about 10–12 kg.  The main reason for this great decrease is limited fish imports and falling local fish production. Fish prices are advantageous for consumers: 2–3 times cheaper than meat and poultry.

Future domestic fish demand will depend on general socio-economic development in the country. General economic improvement, expansion of the tourism industry and some other factors should stimulate increased fish demand.

It is expected that in the short term aquaculture production will increase, but the rate will depend on both the general economic situation and technology development.

If the economic situation is good and shareholders wish to increase fish production, Uzbalik could provide 15 000 tonne/year on the basis of current technology. That could easily be achieved through optimization of fish farm structure.

The next step would be introduction of new technologies, and diversification of types and purposes of aquaculture. This could increase production significantly.


Fisheries enterprises within Uzbalik use culture-based fisheries to increase production in natural environments by controlling part of the early life history of common carp, silver carp and grass carp and transplanting fry and fingerlings into open waters. Such culture-based fishery includes stocking and restocking in freshwater lakes and reservoirs. The state encourages this practice and supports it from the state budget.  

The juvenile fish are produced in hatcheries and released into freshwater bodies (lakes, rivers and reservoirs) and brackish waters (lakes for drainage water storage). They are allowed to propagate and grow on natural feed until they reach harvestable size. Culture-based fisheries are not limited by land availability, but harvests are uncertain and returns are more difficult, being reduced to 1 to 5 percent of the number released. Nevertheless, such practice can be very profitable. Culture-based fisheries enhance the fishery resources and maximize the productivity of a waterbody. Chinese carp cannot naturally reproduce in lakes and reservoir, but those environments are suitable for their growth, so those stocks derive only from artificially stocked young fish. Common carp stocking replenishes natural wild stocks whose populations have declined through overexploitation (such as in the Aidar-Arnasay Lake System) or because of environmental degradation (such as in lakes in the lower and middle Amudarya).

In the 1980s, major waterbodies in Uzbekistan were stocked with young fish (fry, fingerlings, one-year-old) from hatchery sources. Due to the general economic crisis, that practice was reduced after 1996 (Table 6).

Table 6. Restocking by juveniles fish (millions) in the main waterbodies of Uzbekistan

Fish species




Silver carp




Common carp




As restocking is carried out as state policy, the state pays hatcheries for fry or fingerlings. Fisheries enterprises fish the restocked stocks on the basis of general fishery regulations.


The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was ratified by Uzbekistan and came into force in 1996. The State Committee for Nature Protection in Uzbekistan is responsible for CBD implementation on a national basis.


First sales of fish are carried out at local wholesale or green markets. The supplier must submit to the buyer a copy of the declaration of origin. Where raw materials have been imported or produced by fish farmers, the supplier is required to submit a veterinary certificate. Veterinary certificates can be provided by the Fish Diseases and Certificate Service of Uzbalik or by local veterinary services. Copies of the declaration of origin, together with the veterinary certificate, must be submitted to the competent authorities upon inspection and at the request of consumers.

Any fish and other aquatic products in transit must be accompanied by a copy of the declaration of origin and a veterinary certificate.

Before the 1990s, imports of fish and fish products were about 60–80 000 tonne/year. Fish was imported in the framework of the former All-Union Ministry. Following the general economic crisis, the creation of national currencies in former soviet republics and other events, imports fell to zero.

In recent years (1994–2002) there have been small quantities of imports by individuals or local trading companies, mostly comprising canned products and salted herring from Russia and other former soviet republics.

There is legislation governing marketing standards for various products, including fish and fishery products, and in particular marketing standards concerning content, main characteristics and name of foodstuffs, as well as labelling, packaging and advertising.