Is Biodiversity Friendly Fisheries Management Possible on Issyk-Kul Lake in the Kyrgyz Republic?
This paper aims to identify challenges, and threats, and further explore opportunities for a new Biodiversity Friendly Fisheries Management Regime on the Issyk-Kul Lake in the Kyrgyz Republic. This lake is the second largest high-altitude lake in the world providing recreational and small-scale fishing activities as well as cage culture of introduced species. The populations of several indigenous species are seriously threatened, because many of the introduced species are potential predators. We examine the root causes for overfishing and relationships of alien and endemic fish species in Issyk-Kul Lake and give possible policy options that can help remediate or mitigate the biodiversity degradation. This analysis focuses on necessary legal modifications, institutional cooperation, the protection of selected endemic fish species, control of the alien species, the sustainable extension services and management of fish ponds. Fisheries co-management is one option to explore shared stewardship and empowering user groups on the lake. A comprehensive fisheries management plan is also needed, in addition to immediate action and further studies on the following wider aspects: water management/irrigation issues, water-quality assessment near cage cultures, socio-cultural issues, resource inventory, and assessing fish biology and the lake ecosystem.
KeywordsFisheries management Co-management Biodiversity Alien and endemic fish species Issyk-Kul Lake Kyrgyz Republic
The implementation of the UNDP/GEF Project: “Strengthening policy and regulatory framework for mainstreaming biodiversity into the fishery sector” started in the second half of 2008, and gave us the opportunity to make this study. Our deepest gratitude goes to our colleagues who participated with all their skills in the team work, namely, Akylbek Rispaev, Andras Woynárowich, B. Koichumanov, Edil Niyazov, M.N. Alpiev, and Nookatbek Idrisov. From the Cholpon-Ata office we want to mention Nelia Barakanova, Madina Momunkulova and Aliev Sansyzbai. We also want to give our special thanks to Kathrin Uhlemann, UNESCO MaB Program and Sector Project Promotion Unit, Issyk-Kul Biosphere Reserve Administration and to Mairam Sarieva, FD, who even joined us on one of our fishing trips and to Mr. Arynov Abazbek, Deputy Director of SAEPF Interregional Inspection Service, Cholpon-Ata, and to Mr. Akylbek Sharipovich Egemberdiev, Deputy Director of Issyk-Kul Biosphere Reserve Administration, Balykchy, who all gave us a lot of their valuable time and ideas to discuss and improve our final BDFMR proposal. We are grateful to Ahmed Khan and two unknown referees for their constructive criticism which we believe improved the paper. Last but not the least we want to thank all those fishermen (unnamed due to the moratorium) who spent nights with us to teach us more on the real life and fishing problems in the Issyk-Kul Lake.
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