FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Fisheries and aquaculture can bring a lot to the table

Fish is an excellent source of protein and essential micronutrients, with global average per capita fish consumption now topping 20 kilograms a year. In Central Asia and certain landlocked countries, though, average consumption is closer to 2 kilos, according to FAO data.

Fisheries experts and national decision makers from Central Asia and the Caucasus region will be looking at this and other fisheries and aquaculture topics this week in Izmir.

The sixth session of FAO’s Central Asian and Caucasus Regional Fisheries and Aquaculture Commission (CACFish) opens today and runs through Thursday (15-18 October), hosted by the Government of Turkey. FAO senior fisheries and aquaculture officer Victoria Chomo is secretary of the Commission.

“There is significant potential for the fisheries and aquaculture sector to contribute to regional food security and help meet FAO’s Zero Hunger Challenge,” Chomo said.

“For landlocked countries or those with limited access to oceans and seas, rational use of inland waterbodies and fish ponds can significantly raise total fish production,” she said. “This development path has multiple benefits – for food security, family nutrition, growth of rural livelihoods, and availability of fish products at prices local consumers can afford. At the same time, we must work to maintain the quality of natural resources for future generations.”

Fish is one of the most highly traded food commodities. In 2016, about 35 percent of global fish production entered international trade, according to FAO data.

The Central Asia and Caucasus region is well situated between the lucrative markets of Asia and Europe. FAO sees good potential for development of private-sector processing and export of fish products.

The Central Asia and Caucasus region is well situated between
the lucrative markets of Asia and Europe. FAO sees good potential
for processing and export of fish products.

Government support for the adoption of international food safety standards, establishment of laboratory facilities, and traceability of fish products can open doors to international markets. Government also has a role to play in preventing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fish from entering supply chains.

CACFish is a Regional Fisheries Management Organization, established in 2010 under article XIV of the FAO Constitution. Its objectives are to promote the development, conservation, rational management and best utilization of living aquatic resources, as well as the sustainable development of freshwater aquaculture.

There are currently five Members of CACFish: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkey. Members pay mandatory and voluntary contributions to the CACFish autonomous budget, managed by FAO, to finance training, extension, research and development activities as approved in the Commission’s five-year work programmes.

A record number of members and observer States are participating in this week’s session in Izmir, with 17 of 19 invited countries registering delegates.

Participants will discuss technical issues such as genetic aquatic resources and cage aquaculture in lakes, as well as social-economic topics relevant to small-scale fishers and fish farmers.

The session will also review and discuss the regional work programme and decide on priority activities to be financed by the Commission in the coming two years.

15 October 2018, Izmir, Turkey