Within this project, a feasibility study for new sustainable aquaculture concepts in Uzbekistan is developed. The project is a cooperation of different research institutes and companies in Germany and Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan shares the Aral Sea, one of the largest closed lakes in the world, with Kazakhstan. The basin of the Aral Sea is mostly covered by deserts, but since the ancient times it has been known as the region with highly developed agriculture. For the reason of excessive water use by agriculture, water has moved from the coastline 60-80 km away. A catastrophic shrinking of the Aral Sea, deterioration of water quality and the rapid desertification unfolding in the last decades prompted the UN in 1992 to declare the Aral sea basin as a zone of the ecological crisis. About 500,000 ha spawning areas and migratory ways of fish were totally destroyed.
The republic has a great potential for aquaculture development because the climatic conditions are very suitable. Aquaculture in Uzbekistan developed in one form only - pond fish farming which is the most important sector of the fish industry providing 60 to 80% of the total country fish production. Even if aquaculture has a long tradition in Uzbekistan intensive or semi-intensive production systems are hardly available. This may be due to the following issues:
Due to the extreme continental climate in Central Asia, the seasonal aquaculture and fisheries production is influenced by a wide range of temperatures from -20°C up to 40°C.
After the independency of Uzbekistan, the aquaculture and fisheries production decreased dramatically due to an economical crisis. Even today the natural water bodies and fish farms are exploited insufficiently. This may be due to bad management and lacking investment. Capital is still a very limited resource in Uzbekistan.
The intensification of aquaculture and the efficient production of high value species requires the use of commercial fish diets adapted to the species produced. These fish diets are still not available in Uzbekistan.