La pêche continentale

Fish species introductions in the Kyrgyz Republic

Rehabilitation & mitigation

Although the Kyrgyz Republic is rich in water resources, water has a low productivity and the indigenous fish fauna is relatively poor, with a limited number of commercially-valuable species amongst them. The waters are suitable to grow valuable cold water fish species, however, and several fish species were introduced and regularly stocked when Kyrgyzstan was part of the Soviet bloc. As a consequence of these introductions this gradually reduced both the number and proportion of indigenous fish species. After independence, seed and fingerling production from hatcheries was reduced significantly, and then completely stopped, while at the same time illegal and unregulated fishing increased. These combined factors led to the collapse of both the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. Currently national and foreign investors are increasingly interested in investing in the potentially lucrative cage farming of exotic rainbow trout, particularly in the unspoilt waters of Lake Issyk-Kul, which may further endanger the efforts to restore and maintain the original fish fauna of the lake. The objective of this document is to analyze the available information on historic practices, experiences and lessons learned on species introductions, so better practices can be used in future stocking programmes in the Kyrgyz Republic and elsewhere in the Central Asian region. Information is provided to support the management of exotic and indigenous species in Kyrgyz fisheries and aquaculture activity including an analysis of the long term consequences of possible stocking programmes for exotic and native species and the use of cages in natural waters. The information presented in this document includes a detailed inventory of all waterbodies, fishery and fish culture resources. It will also serve the rehabilitation and sustainable development of both the fishery and aquaculture sectors in the Kyrgyz Republic in an ecologically sound manner. The report also recommends feasible solutions for the sustainable utilization of natural waters, reservoirs and fish farms in the Kyrgyz Republic.