FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Successful conclusion of FISHCap project offers promise for new ventures

©FAO/Sergei Gapon

22/01/2024, İzmir

Pressure on agrifood systems from climate extremes, economic shocks and ongoing conflicts has led to mounting recognition of the urgent need to improve, promote and sustain aquatic food systems, with food security and nutrition becoming increasingly prominent on the global agenda.

For millennia, fisheries and aquaculture have been key social and economic drivers in many regions, providing essential livelihoods and forming the basis of regional diets, especially among populations vulnerable to poverty and malnutrition.

In Central Asia, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture represent significant untapped potential, yet enhancing institutional capacity for increased production and development remains a persistent challenge.

In response to these challenges, the FISHCap project was launched under the umbrella of the FAO–Türkiye Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture, and implemented in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Türkiye, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, to address obstacles to sustainability in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

Throughout the implementation period, which began in January 2020 with a budget of USD 1 million provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Türkiye, the project helped to increase regional capacities to effectively address the sustainable exploitation, management, protection and development of freshwater resources for sustainable fish production in support of food safety.

The FISHCap project ended with a closing workshop held in Izmir on 18–19 January 2024 with the participation of senior officials from the beneficiary countries.

Photo: ©FAO/Ecenaz Yüzbaşıoğlu

Speaking at the opening session of the workshop, Fuat Kasımcan, Director-General of the European Union and Foreign Relations at MoAF, referred to FISHCap as one of the most prominent projects of the Partnership Programme.

M. Altuğ Atalay, Director-General of Fisheries and Aquaculture at the Ministry, mentioned that the successful implementation and achievements of FISHCap are a testament to the efforts and persistence of all those involved, particularly in the light of the COVID-19-related challenges that arose during the implementation phase. Atalay also drew attention to the ongoing collaboration between the Ministry and FAO on fisheries and aquaculture in Türkiye under different programmes and projects, including through the Global Environment Facility (GEF). 

Viorel Gutu, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Central Asia and Representative in Türkiye, thanked all the institutions and actors involved in the project. He also noted the key role that FISHCap played in bringing beneficiary countries together and highlighted the contributions of FISHCap to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Following these opening remarks, Haydar Fersoy, FAO Senior Fishery and Aquaculture Officer and Lead Technical Officer of FISHCap, presented the key activities and deliverables of the project, emphasizing the importance of sharing best management practices in the fisheries and aquaculture sector among the beneficiary countries. 

This was followed by a session dedicated to oral and video presentations by national project coordinators which gave participants an opportunity to learn about the ways in which FISHCap has impacted the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the subregion. The first day of the workshop ended with participatory discussions on regional gaps and priorities, which will inform a supplementary project. 

On the second day of the workshop, participants provided constructive inputs on the project’s sustainability. The wealth of project ideas shared provide opportunities for FISHCap to explore new horizons in different forms.

Communication Specialist 
FAO Türkiye
[email protected]