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Preserve the  living silver of Issyk-Kyl!

In December 18th 2015 Small Grants Programme of the GEF/UNDP and Public Association “Issyk-Kul Pond keepers” has got an award (certificate of honor) from the Ministry of Agriculture (Department of fishery) for contribution to development of the "Fishery sector" of Kyrgyzstan.

The organizations received an award for successfully realized project on preservation of a biodiversity of the Issyk Kul Lake through the restoration of populations of endemic species of fishes by the organization in Lipenka village special conditions on their farming with use of renewable sources of energy.


Issyk-Kul is a unique aquatic ecosystem of Kyrgyzstan. Today lake waters inhabited by more than 20 species of fish, from which 8 species are endemic, i.e. are peculiar only to Issyk-Kul.

The desire to preserve the ecosystem of the lake led PA “Issyk-Kul pond keepers" and the GEF SGP to the idea of uniting the forces of the public and science in the preservation of endemic fish species of Issyk-Kul, such as Issyk-kul marinka and Scaleless osman.


Issyk-Kulmarinka (Schizothorax)

Within the project the special equipment was purchased that allows growing fish larvae from caviar. Financing is allocated in the framework of "Community Development and Knowledge
management for the Satoyama Initiative“
(COMDESK) project.

With the assistance of the Fund for development of Issyk-Kul region shelters for fish shop and two big concrete tanks were built, for the conversion of fish larvae to fry. Further fish comes to 2 adolescent ponds, where it reaches the required weight and the sizes. Release of the endemic fish to the lake is planned for summer of 2016.

Besides environmental benefits the project has also a serious economic benefit. Until recently on Issyk-Kul there were no fish farms which are engaged in reproduction and rearing of juvenile carp polyculture. Farmers, fish breeders of Issyk-Kul region are forced to buy the planting material in the farms of Chui oblast and the Republic of Kazakhstan that in turn has the negative sides such as: difficulties with acclimatization of fishes, import of parasites and viruses, risks during transportation of live fish, a significant waste of time, financial and material resources.

Now the situation has changed. Within the project in Lipenka village, Jeti-Oguz district of Issyk-Kul region were created special conditions for breeding of different carp fish with use of solar water heating collectors, and solar photovoltaic panels that provide electricity to the pump for circulating water in pools for fish farming even in the conditions of shutdown of power.

The project allowed to get unique experience for the breeding of fish endemic that can be apprehended and widespread across the all Issyk-Kul region.

Current efforts of the GEF SGP and PA "Issyk-Kul Pond" focused on information campaign and training of the population. It requires significant efforts of the public to interfere pragmatic economical seeding of Issyk-Kul, without taking into account its ecosystem features.

Long since fishes in Issyk-Kul were in abundance. The locals almost did not catch it, because fish dishes for the Kyrgyz national cuisine is the exception rather than the rule. In Soviet period, the fish of Issyk-Kul Lake - Issyk-Kul marinka, Scaleless osman and others became trade. The annual harvesting of fish in the Issyk-Kul exceeded to 12 thousand quintals.  90% of the fish crop was Issyk-Kul dace (chebak).


Scaleless osman (Diptychus)

 Excessive harvesting of fish in industrial scale endangered fish resources of the lake, and traditional industry of fishermen. Because of that, number of the fish population of Issyk-Kul became dangerously low.

Studies have shown that Issyk-Kul Lake susceptible react to the use of fisheries resources on an industrial scale and there is possibility for amateur fishery, and that – in limited scales only. Nevertheless, development of fishery in ponds that surround Issyk-Kul is safe and perspective!

In 2016 Small Grants Program of the GEF/UNDP planning to open one more farm on the reproduction of fish endemic of the Issyk-Kul on the basis of Biological Research Station of Cholpon-Ata city. The program also plans to support research on the status of populations of different species of fishes of the lake, as well as the opportunities of reproduction of the Issyk-Kul dace (chebak and chebachok).