1. Characteristics, structure and resources of the sector
    1. Summary
    2. History and general overview
    3. Human resources
    4. Farming systems distribution and characteristics
    5. Cultured species
    6. Practices/systems of culture
  2. Sector performance
    1. Production
    2. Market and trade
    3. Contribution to the economy
  3. Promotion and management of the sector
    1. The institutional framework
    2. The governing regulations
    3. Applied research, education and training
  1. Trends, issues and development
    1. References
      1. Bibliography
      2. Related links
    Characteristics, structure and resources of the sector
    Summary
    Aquaculture is an important and fast growing sector of fisheries in Uzbekistan, accounting for 52–60 percent of the total fish production in the period of 2011–2014. Finfish are the only cultivated fishery product in Uzbekistan; here is no production of molluscs, crustaceans or other organisms. The pond culture of cyprinids is by far the most developed aquaculture system in the country and there are a few well established, full-cycle fish pond farms, country-wide. Today, only the state fish hatchery in the Tashkent region belongs to the state, while the remaining farms are privately owned.

    As of 2014, the total area of fish pond farms in Uzbekistan was 15 900 ha. This total is divided between nursery ponds (1 700 ha) and fattening ponds (14 200 ha). There are about 10 hatcheries with a maximum total capacity of 450 million larvae yearly, however, they are currently producing 120–150 million. The nursery ponds have the capacity to produce up to 93 000 000 yearlings annually, however, they produce only about 20 million. Both nursery and fattening ponds have the potential to produce 47 700 tonnes of fish per year at an average productivity of 3 tonnes per ha, however, current aquaculture production in the country is about 24 000 tonnes. The under-capacity production is mainly a result of insufficient financing of the industrial processes.

    Three large-scale fish-farms account for a vast majority of total production: “Balikchi”, “Khorazmriba” and “Yangiyul State zone fish hatchery” are the largest producers. For more than 20 years these ponds have been used without undergoing any major repairs. Only the largest farm, “Khorazmbalik”, is exception, where all wintering and ongrowing ponds were deepened in recent years.

    Farmers apply a method of polyculture which was developed under the Soviet period and has since been adapted to a low investment model. Silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) are the main cultured species and account for 66–88 (average 84.6) percent of total production. Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is the second most produced fish by volume, and accounts for 5.5–27.2 (average 11.3) percent of total production. Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus) and bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) make up a majority of the remaining production. Fish are grown in a 2 year growing cycle, where fingerlings are stocked in the spring of the first year, overwintered, and then fattened over the next year and batch harvested in the autumn of the second year.

    By the end of the 1980s, 10–15 million fry and fingerlings of cultured fish (mainly silver, grass and common carp) were being stocked annually into the nation’s waterbodies with a corresponding increase in fish yields. However, during last decade culture-based fisheries were developed only in a few fish farms who owning whole waterbodies convenient for this type of aquaculture. However, after the Soviet era during the early 1990s the investment in aquaculture dwindled and total production dropped drastically. Following two decades of limited activity, aquaculture was recoginized by teh goverment in the early 2000s and given increased attention and assigned the Minsitry of Agriculture and Water Resources to be responsible for aquaculture development. However, support for the training of fish farmers and extension support for fisheries development are lacking in the country and need to be strengthened. Important policy changes since 2009 have resulted in an overall incarease in aquacultre production, but still far less than that of the Soviet era.
    History and general overview
    Fish yields in the Aral Sea began to decline after the 1960s, and after significant stock during the 1980s, specialists realised that capture fisheries could not sustainably produce enough fish to supply the local demand. Major effort was put into aquaculture development as a result. In the early 1960s, the government managed a large-scale programme of fish culture development with the creation of about 20 fish farms (with a total pond area about 20 000 ha) spread throughout Uzbekistan. These were supported by the elaboration of technologies, the creation of research centres and the establishment of training and education institutions.

    The main technology that was introduced was the polyculture of cyprinids in earth ponds in semi-intensive conditions. The cultured species were: common carp (Cyprinus carpio), silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) and grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus). In this region the production follows a 2 year cycle. The fertilization season lasts from late March/early April until October/November, and wintering lasts from November until March. During the first year, juvenile fish are raised in nursery ponds (10-50 ha each) to a size of 25 g. After wintering, they are cultured in fattening ponds (70–150 ha) to a size of 500–1 000 g and harvested.

    In the 1970-1980s, average productivity of fish ponds in Uzbekistan was 3–3.3 tonnes/ha, though the Tashkent region showed higher yields at 4–4.5 tonnes/ha. Aquaculture produced an average of 20 000–25 000 tonnes/year in the 1980s.

    During the period between 1991–2007 there were little or no attempts to modernize aquaculture systems and aquaculture production dwindled. A slight resurgance in aquaculture has been seen in recent years, and the first fish farm oriented towards intensive culture of trout was established at the end of 2007. Then, two small intensive recirculating aquaculture systems raising Danube sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) (2009) and African catfish (Heterobranchus bidorsalis) (2010) were installed in the area of Tashkent.

    During the period between 1996-2010, average annual aquaculture production in Uzbekistan was 4 740 tonnes at a value of about USD 11 000 000. Aquaculture production reached a peak in 1990 at 20 400 tonnes, then fell gradually to 2 400 tonnes in 2004, and since has started to increase slightly again.
    Human resources
    After the collapse of the former Soviet Union the number of people involved in fish pond culture decreased considerably. This was a result of several factors: i) the most highly qualified aquaculturists emigrated, ii) most local specialists left the sector to start more profitable activities, iii) after full privatization of the sector in 2003 new owners reduced the number of employees in order to enhance profitability, and resulted in an overall reduction in production. During this period there was about a 50 percent reduction in the number of workers.

    Currently, the educational level of aquaculturists is low owing in part to the absence of educational centres for fish farming. Moreover, young people do not enter the sector because of low salaries. New aquaculture farm owners try to maintain highly skilled personnel as much as possible by providing them with good salaries. However, there is currently a lack of qualified personnel in the aquaculture sector. Most of the skilled workers, including those with diplomas in fisheries, fish breeders, mechanics, technical and engineering employees, can be found in Tashkent region (44 percent of total workers).

    According to most recent statistics (2008-2009) more than 2 000 people were directly employed on fish farms, most of them on 21 large-scale farms. Of these, 1 693 were men. It is estimated that another 2 000 people are engaged in support services such as transport, wholesale retail (mainly women), and the supply of ice.
    Farming systems distribution and characteristics
    Until 2007, fish farms were located in all regions of Uzbekistan except Karakalpakstan. By 2007, there were total of 21 fish farms, half of which were situated in the Tashkent Region and the Ferghana Valley. Ponds are the only production method used on these farms, and in 2007 the ponds covered a total area of 10 237 ha. After the issuance of the State Program in 2009, the total number of new farmers registered as culturing fish in ponds and other artificial water bodies in Uzbekistan reached 1 400. Table 1 shows the geographical distribution of these farms. The total pond surface area was increased to 15 900 ha. For example, between 2008-2009, 4 newly established fish pond farms were registered in Karakalpakstan.

    Table 1: Fish farming systems location and production data
    Farming areas Total land area, thousand square km2 Production method Total aquaculture production in 2014 ( tonnes )
    Tashkent region 15.59 Ponds 6 236
    Ferghana Valley 18.44 Ponds 3 506
    Khorazm region 6.3 Ponds 1 470
    Zhizak and Syrdarya regions 25.5 Ponds 5 867
    Surkhandarya and Kashkadarya regions 48.67 Ponds 2678
    Zarafshan River basin 168.1 Ponds, Tudakul reservoir (*) 3 293
    Karakalpakstan autonomous republic 165.6 Ponds 970
    Total 447.4   24 020
    (*) culture-based fi sheries
    Cultured species
    Overall, the predominant farmed fish are the cyprinids (mainly silver carp, grass carp and big head carp), which comprise more than 95 percent of total production. The fish species which account for most of the value of aquaculture production value are as follows (in descending order): During the period from 1960–1990, a number of fish species from outside the region was introduced into irrigation water bodies of Central Asia. Silver carp, bighead carp, grass carp, and snakehead (Channa arguswarpachowskii) were introduced from the Far East. These species were first stocked in fish farms in the Tashkent area, and from there the hatchery-produced stocking material was regularly stocked into surrounding lakes and reservoirs.

    Three species of buffalo (Ictiobus cyprinellus, I. bubalus, I. niger) and channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) were also introduced into fish farms, however, at present these species are not actively cultivated. Currently, about 50 tonnes of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are cultivated per year at the Tavaksay fish farm near Tashkent.

    Two additional species suitable for intensive aquaculture were introduced in 2009 by private farms: North African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) were introduced by NT and Uchtut Fish farms, and Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baerii) were introduced by Nazarbek fish farms, both of which are located in the Tashkent region. These species are of significant interest among fish farmers. For example, the Fishberg farm has been successfully cultivating North African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) in cages since 2013, and private aquaculturists are producing seeds of this fish. Recently, the Fish Culture Development Center of Uzbekistan has started research work towards inclusion of wels catfish (Silurus glanis), Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baerii) and basa fish (Pangasius bocourti) into aquaculture practices.
    Practices/systems of culture
    Carp polyculture in large earthen ponds is the predominant culture method. This method was originally developed during the Soviet period, and has since been adapted to a low investment model. Inorganic fertilizers are cheaper than fish feeds, so therefore farmers focus on encouraging phytoplankton development by liming and fertilizing the ponds. Some farmers use supplementary feeds (mainly bran, husks of cotton seeds and wheat) for common carp feeding, but some farms do not use any supplementary feed. Silver carp are most adapted to this technique of low feeding, and have therefore become the main cultured species, followed by common carp, grass carp and bighead carp to a lesser extent. Also, grass carp are occasionally fed on cut plants (mainly aquatic reeds).

    In general, these large earthen ponds (50–100 ha) are filled with fresh river water each spring. However, in years of water deficiency fish farms situated on river plains have to use quantities of brackish drainage water (3-5 g/L of salt) as a water supply. Aquaculture farms are considered water users rather than water consumers by the government. A major investment of funds and effort is expended fertilizing the water to create a forage reserve of phytoplankton. These ponds stocks are stocked at a density of 1 500–2 000 fingerlings per ha. At stocking, each fingerling is one year of age and weighs 15–25 grams, though some farms are able to stock yearlings of 50–100 grams. Fish are stocked in spring and harvested in autumn. To harvest, the entire pond is drained and all the fish are sold within a week. The pond remains empty during the winter, and then is refilled again the following spring with fresh river water. Recently, some big farms have begun to use an approach where a subset of harvestable fish are kept in deeper winter ponds and sold gradually. Alternatively, some large fish farms use a 3 year harvesting cycle, and start with a higher density (3 000–4 000 fish/ha). These fish are correspondingly smaller in the autumn of the second year, so these farms raise fish into the third year and produce larger fish weighing 1.5–3 kg. There is a higher sale price for larger silver carp. This method is used because there is no real competition between farms and the tax for land and water is small.

    Additional techniques are used to increase production, including: artificial reproduction using hormonal or pituitary injections, egg incubation and larvae and fry nursery methods including over-wintering. However, these techniques are used less often than during the past.

    During the period of 1991–2007 there were few if any attempts to modernize aquaculture systems, species or to move towards intensive culture. The first fish farm oriented towards intensive culture of trout in flow-through systems was the NT Fish Farm, established at the end of 2007. Since then, two small intensive recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) raising Danube sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) (2009) and African catfish (Heterobranchus bidorsalis) (2010) with capacities of 100 tonnes/year were established near Tashkent. Since 2013, Fishbergfarm has started to produce a small quantity of common carp and North African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) in cages constructed on the Arnasay lake system.
    Sector performance
    Production
    Before and immediately after independence in 1991, aquaculture production was relatively high. Fish production volumes then decreased from 20 000–25 000 tonnes in 1980–1991 to an annual average of 4 200 tonnes during 1995-2006, and then rebounded slightly to 4 051–6 654 tonnes between 2008–2010. The aquaculture sector produced 6 654 tonnes in 2010, which was a fall to around 30 percent of fish production compared to 1991. As a result, annual per capita fish consumption fell to less than 500 g, compared to 5–6 kg during 1980-1990. The contribution of the aquaculture sector to gross domestic product (GDP) was less than 1 percent. However, since 2011 production volumes has increased significantly. During 2011––2013 it was at a range of 32-34 percent and in 2014–6 percent (data of state statistical Committee).

    Table 2 below shows latest information available on the production of cultivated fish species in pond farms:

    Table 2: Production of aquaculture per species in Uzbekistan in 2009
    Species Production (tonnes) % of total Total price in US$
    Common carp 855 16.56 2 761 004
    Grass carp 618 11.98 1 997 109
    Silver carp 3 504 67.88 6 201 549
    Trout 13 0.25 150 930
    Others (crucian carp, snakehead) 172 3.34 222 267
    Total: 5 162 11 332 859


    The graph below shows total aquaculture production in Uzbekistan according to FAO statistics:

    :
    :
    Market and trade
    Pond farms are generally located within 5–70 km from cities and towns, and farms transport and sell in the cities each autumn. Small quantities are also sold to traders (up to 200 kg) by the pond, for which contracts are concluded. Some of the fish is sold at markets and shops. Processing and storage facilities are poor in the country, and most fish is sold live and fresh. Overall, 60 percent of the fish is sold at markets, 25 percent is sold from warehouses to special consumers and wholesale buyers (mainly frozen and processed), and 15 percent is sold through shops and supermarkets.

    During the Soviet era Uzbekistan exported large quantities of fish seed of some species, including silver carp, common carp, grass carp and bighead carp. After independence, this type of export sharply declined to nearly zero, though there are no official statistics on fish seeds export.

    Fresh fish is exported mainly to Afghanistan, and to a lesser extent to Russia and Turkey. According to data of the State Statistical Committee, Uzbekistan exported: 818.2 tonnes in 2006; 576 tonnes (value of USD 1 814 500) in 2009; and 964 tonnes (value of USD 2 584 000) in 2009. Most of this fish export is frozen, smoked, dried or salted. The main fish exporters are JV “For a Seafoods” in Djizak region and JV “Aqua Todakul” in the Navoi region. The breakdown of the exported fish products is available for 2006 and is shown in Table 3. Unfortunately, it is not possible to extract which quantity of this comes from aquaculture.

    Table 3: Distribution of processed fish products for export in 2006
    Processed product category Volume (tonnes) Value (USD) Destination
    Frozen (gutted fish without head or tail) 744.2 712 100 65 % to Russia; 35 % to Turkey
    Refrigerated fish 30 21 400 Afghanistan
    Smoked fish 9.6 7 800 Russia
    Filleted fish 34.4 55 500 Russia


    There is legislation governing marketing standards of various products, including fish and fishery products, in particular marketing standards concerning the content, main characteristics and name of foodstuffs, as well as labelling, packaging and promotion. The transportation of fish has to be accompanied by a declaration of origin and a veterinary certificate. The middlemen active in fish marketing have a marketing margin of 10–20 percent.
    Contribution to the economy
    Until 2007, aquaculture development was not given priority in Uzbekistan, and as a result there was limited development in technology, management, extension support and access to credit. After the issuance of State Program in 2009, the government has started to regard aquaculture as a highly profitable sector which can enhance domestic fish production and provide opportunities for additional income generation, which in turn can contribute to rural poverty reduction. The foreseen beneficiaries are existing fish farmers, farmers interested in diversification from agriculture to aquaculture (especially in the water scarce Aral Sea region), fishers, fish traders and input suppliers. By the end of 2009, the total registered number of new farmers reached 1 400, as opposed to a mere 28 in years before. However, only about 100 of these farms are actively producing fish, and the majority are in the planning and design phase. Most of production volumes came from large-scale aquaculture enterprises, established already Soviet times including “JSC Balikchi”, “Khorazmbalik”, “Damachi” and others.

    Convenient natural and socio-economic conditions for aquaculture development exist in Uzbekistan, though currently the majority of fishermen and rural people practice informal/artisanal, small-scale capture fishery which is economically not feasible and ecologically unsustainable. The Republic of Uzbekistan has a population of more than 31 million as of January 1st, 2015. According to governmental data, around 48.5 percent of the population live in rural areas. The development of aquaculture as part of the livelihood of poor rural households can promote income generation and food security by enhancing fish consumption and family nutrition in general.
    Promotion and management of the sector
    The institutional framework
    Since August 2003, the management of the fishery sector has been the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources (MAWR). To that end, the Main Administration for Development of Animal Husbandry, Poultry Farming and Fishery with a staff of 12 officers was established. Of these, five officers work at the Department for the Development of Poultry Farming and Fishery, which was divided into separate sectors for the development of poultry and the development of fisheries. One officer with an education in aquaculture works at the department for the development of fisheries.

    Departments for the development of animal husbandry, poultry farming and fisheries have been established in regional departments for agriculture and water management (one person), which were entrusted with functions to promote the development of fishery.

    Uzbek Research Centre of Fish Culture Development (FCDC) was established on August 13th, 2003 and functioned under the MAWR. However, in 2014 it was reorganised and included into the structure of the Institute of Animal Husbandry as its scientific-experimental station. The main objectives of the centre were:
    • Developing scientific and methodological recommendations on fish industry and its forage reserve development.
    • Carrying out the research on fish breeding, capture fisheries, development of activities regarding fish disease treatment and preventive measures, actions to improve the brood fish quality and acclimatization of new species.
    • Providing fisheries and fish breeding farms with high quality selective materials.
    • Organizing training and raising the qualification and skills of fish industry personnel.
    There are no aquaculture related unions, cooperatives or associations at national level. Non-governmental associations of fishers and fish-breeders were set up in the provinces of Karakalpakstan (units comprising more than 50 fish farms), Bukhara (17 fish farms) and Samarkand, Kashkadarya and Syrdarya regions. The main task of these associations is to protect the interests of fish farms.
    The governing regulations
    Uzbekistan has no special laws related to fisheries, and aquaculture is regulated by general agricultural laws. Conversely, there are strong regulations protecting natural resources and aquatic biodiversity. The following laws apply with respect to enterprise property:
    • On joint-stock associations and protection of rights of stock holders.
    • On associations of limited liability.
    • On farming.
    The management of farms is regulated by multiple codes, laws and decrees of the President of Uzbekistan and enactments of the Cabinet of Ministers, namely:
    • “The Tax Code”.
    • “The Land Code”.
    • “On Protection of Nature”.
    • “On Water”.
    • Decree of the President of Uzbekistan No.VII-2086 of 10 October 1998 “On the introduction of a single land tax for agricultural producers”.
    • Regulation of the Cabinet of Ministers No.21-f of 21 January 1997, No.289 “On the improvement of the system of fishery sector management” of 6 July 2001.
    • Enactment of the Cabinet of Ministers No.258 “On the improvement of the organization of the activity of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Management” and of 28 June 2003, No.350 “On measures to remove monopolies and to privatize the fishery sector” of 13 August 2003.
    • Enactment registered by the Ministry of Justice No.1292 of 20 December 2003 “On the approval of the regulation of the calculation and levying of rent payment for the use of natural water bodies by fish farms”.
    • Regulations of hunting and fishing on the territory of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
    Of these, some were revised in 2010 according to Enactments of the Ministry of agriculture and water resources, Ministry of Finances and the State Committee on Nature Protection with an introduction of changes to the calculation of rental payments amount (registered by the Ministry of Justice No.1292-1 of 15 February 2010).

    Considering that the agrarian sector occupies an important place in the Uzbek economy, significant benefits were given to the agricultural organizations, including aquaculture enterprises. In the enactment of the Cabinet of Ministers No.21-f of 21 January 1997, fish farms involved in the cultivation of fish pond are treated the same as agricultural enterprises in terms of credit, purchase of combustive-lubricating materials, mixed feeds, agricultural equipment, spare parts and other necessary business expenses.

    The enactment of the Cabinet of Ministers No.289 of 6 July 2001 “On the improvement of the system of fishery sector management” states the fish farms have the equal rights as agricultural organizations in terms of taxation. Pond farms pay a single land tax instead of all individual state and local taxes (except the excise tax) and fees established for agricultural producers, including: income tax (profit); value added tax (except the import of commodities (work, services); tax on the use of water resources; tax on the use of subsurface; property tax; tax for improvement of territory and development of social infrastructure; other local taxes and fees. The small and medium aquaculture farms (quantity of employees not more than 25 persons) pay a single tax which is equal to 7 percent of total turnover. Large aquaculture farms have to pay single land tax which is calculated based on an average land quality classification in the district where farm is situated. In most cases this is not in the benefit of fish farms because usually they are situated on peripheral lands with very low quality (high salinity and low fertility of soil, scarce water resources, lack of infrastructure).
    Applied research, education and training
    During the Soviet era, all research priorities were organized by the Ministry of Fisheries of USSR and implemented by Central institutions (Moscow University, All-Union fisheries research institute in Moscow region and others) jointly with the Uzbek Fisheries Research Institute. The common Soviet form of on-farm participatory research was practiced, whereby large fish farms provided lodging and facilities for visiting scientists. This method brought various research instruments to the farm for research needs, as well as involving post-graduate students into practical research, leading to a situation where both the farm and the researchers benefitted. However, currently this type of on-farm participatory research in aquaculture is no longer practiced.

    Until 1991, aquaculture and fisheries specialists with higher education studied at the Department of Hydrobiology and Ichthyology in the Biology Faculty of Tashkent State University (now the National University of Uzbekistan). Each year 8–20 students graduated. After independence, the quantity of students in this department has gradually declined. In 2003, the department was transformed into the Department of Ecology, and until 2008 there was no centre or institution for higher education for the fisheries sector. Nominally, highly educated people from the National University (biologists), Agro University (agriculturists), Technical University (engineers of food industry) could enter as fisheries specialists. In 2008, the National University of Uzbekistan, identifying the need for aquaculture specialists, has started admission of bachelors students with a focus on hydrobiology and ichthyology through the Department of General Zoology.

    Major research into fish breeding development is done under the umbrella of the Coordination Committee on Science and Technologies Development under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan. This Committee elaborates prioritized research needs in the country based on recommendations related to the national economy. Every three years this Committee conducts a competition for research projects which includes fisheries. Winners of projects in the field of aquaculture are normally research institutes within Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences (UzAS), Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources (MAWR) and the Ministry of Higher Education.

    Until 2012 there was one research institute in the field of aquaculture and fisheries, the Uzbek Fish Culture Development Center (FCDC) at Uzbek Scientific Production Centre for Agriculture of MAWR, and two research institutions with departments conducting research in the field of ichthyology, hydrobiology, fisheries and aquaculture, the Laboratory of intensive aquaculture and fisheries at the Institute of Zoology of UzAS, and the Department of Bioecology at the Karakalpak Branch of UzAS (Nukus). However, in 2014 FCDC was reorganised and included within the Institute of Animal Husbandry as its scientific-experimental station was relocated to the State zone hatchery. Therefore, today there is no specific research institute on aquaculture.

    Support for training fish farmers is lacking in the country. The FCDC had taken the initiative of building a training centre for fish farmers at Yangiyul zone hatchery which became operational in 2008, however activities have stopped because of lack of finances. The extension support for fisheries development is very limited, and this lack of training needs to be strengthened in order to support meaningful fisheries development.
    Trends, issues and development
    Aquaculture development has not been considered a priority sector of national development until 2008, despite the fact that the sector is considered an environmentally friendly direction of agriculture. This is reflected by the lack of investment, international assistance and the lack of technology transfer of modern semi-intensive and intensive methods. One reason for this is that the complete privatization of the fisheries sector. The privatized aquaculture sector has not yet established itself as a commercial sector with future prospects; there was no clear development programme for the sector from the outset. As a result, per capita fish consumption in Uzbekistan still remains very low – 0.8 kg/year compared to 4.5–5 in 1991. The government has made privatization, market economy and social welfare (poverty alleviation) the three cornerstones of its social and economic policy. In line with these national directives, the MAWR and FAO formulated a Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) entitled “Development of strategic partnership in support of responsible fisheries and aquaculture development in Uzbekistan” in July 2007 and started implementation in August 2007. Using a participatory process of involving all stakeholders through consultations and organizing two national participatory workshops and two training programmes, the National Policy and Strategic Plan for 2008-2016 was prepared. This policy also emphasized the need to strengthen the fisheries arm in the Ministry by elevating it into a Department of Fisheries to operate effectively. As a result, in 2008–2009 the government addressed to the fisheries sector by confirming its social and economic importance and the necessity to develop it as a priority.

    While the approval of a developed Policy and Strategic Plan was still under the active consideration in February 2009 (No. 03/1–348) the Government has developed the three year State programme on measurements of fisheries sector development in the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2009–2011. This particular programme primarily envisages the rehabilitation of available extensive pond fish farm capacities in the country without taking into account current economic and ecologic realities. For example, extensive pond farm technology requires a huge volume of water, and during times of drought and water deficit as in 2011 farms need to use low quality mineralized drainage waters of agricultural origin, with a result in potential losses of fish and decreased production.

    There is an acute need to increase production of fish seeds (larvae, fingerlings and yearlings) for the increasing number of aquaculture farms and stocking of natural water bodies for the development of culture-based fisheries. The most suitable species are common carp, silver carp, bighead carp and grass carp, and the standard stocking rate is 300–600 fingerlings/ha. This stocking and fisheries enhancement measures will provide increase harvest production to 30 kg/ha after 2 years.

    The priorities in education and research include the establishment of intensive aquaculture systems, adaptation of new species for cultivation (diversification), improvement in the availability, accessibility and affordability of high-quality fish feeds and feed ingredients, improvements in fish processing and marketing, protection of fish biodiversity, and water quality assessment and monitoring. The most important factors hindering the development of education, training and research include insufficient aquaculture education, very low and insufficient funding, unavailability of modern technologies, absence of a coordinating structure (preferably a governmental structure) and a well-structured and well- established sector, insufficient cooperation with the international fisheries community, and geographic peculiarities (landlocked country).
    References
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