Fish population to grow by 7% by 2030 — Yerlan Nysanbayev

Cultivation of marketable fish in Kazakhstan in the next 7 years is planned to reach 270 thousand tons per year, domestic consumption of products from it to increase to 134 thousand tons. This was announced by Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Yerlan Nysanbayev at a press conference at the site of the Central Communications Service.

The head of the agency informed journalists about the implementation of the Program for the development of fisheries in Kazakhstan for 2021-2030 years. He emphasized that the industry today is one of the most promising and important in the country, it is the basis for economic growth and employment. 

In his Address to the people of Kazakhstan, the Head of State noted that the fishing industry deserves close attention. In fulfillment of the President's instruction, a number of important conservation measures are being implemented in the country. One of them is the preservation of the Caspian seal population.

"In Mangystau region the work on creation of the state natural reserve has been accelerated. In April 2023, the natural-scientific substantiation of the project was approved, the feasibility study is currently underway. We will receive the results at the end of this year. The reserve will be established as an independent legal entity in June 2024," the Minister said.

The work on suppression of illegal fishing in the Caspian Sea has also been intensified. Thus, in March this year, the Ministry of Ecology and the Ministry of Internal Affairs approved a joint plan to combat poaching in the waters of the Zhaiyk-Caspian basin for 2023-2025. The agencies conducted joint raids, as a result of which control at sea was strengthened. 691 violators were brought to administrative responsibility, fines amounting to about 13 million tenge were imposed, 46 criminal cases were initiated against poachers. The material and technical base of the Zhaiyk-Caspian inspection is being strengthened to enhance protection.

In fulfillment of the order of the Head of State, the production base of the state sturgeon plant in Atyrau will be fully modernized. According to the head of the department, a roadmap and a concept of the plant's development have been approved, technical surveys of the stability of facilities have been conducted, and a fish-biological substantiation has been developed. A tender is being held to determine the supplier for the development of the design and construction project. It is planned to determine the winner and conclude a contract with him by the end of this month.

The country is also taking specific measures on state support of the domestic fishing industry. 

"In September, amendments were made to the Fishery Development Program until 2030 in terms of introducing additional measures of state support in the form of subsidizing interest rates for lending, the cost of services for water supply and processing of fish products, as well as the possibility of budget crediting of investment projects on fish," the Minister said.

According to him, this month in the Majilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan will introduce a draft law "On Aquaculture", providing a legal basis for expanding state support for business.

The issues of additional equipment of fish protection inspection for examination of water area and coast of the Caspian Sea in order to identify the cause of death of seals and fish are also being solved. It is planned to purchase a marine vessel for this purpose by the end of this year. In addition, the inspectors will be additionally equipped with new vehicles, boat motors, unmanned aerial vehicles, night vision devices, communication and navigation equipment.

A number of amendments to the Land Code in terms of allocation of plots for fish farming are also envisaged. Additional amendments to the Law "On state regulation of agro-industrial complex development" are being worked out. 

The head of the agency reminded that in March 2023, the order of the Ministry of Ecology introduced a ban on the export of pikeperch and catfish in unprocessed form for a period of 6 months. After which the effectiveness of the restrictions introduced was analyzed.

"This measure allowed to increase the workload of fish processing enterprises. Today the possibility of reintroduction of the ban is being considered," Nysanbayev said.

Talking about the practical implementation of the Fishery Development Program until 2030, the Minister noted that for 10 months of 2023 in Kazakhstan caught 34.9 thousand tons of fish, grown 13.2 thousand tons, exported 15.6 thousand tons, imported 32 thousand tons. 

"The point of growth in the development of the fishing industry is aquaculture. Thanks to the measures taken under the Program, the industry has seen an increase in business activity. Thus, compared to 2020, the number of fish farms has more than doubled and reached 383. Fish farming increased from 9 thousand tons to 19 thousand tons," Yerlan Nysanbayev said.

The minister called the support of business at the initial stage in the form of subsidies and tax benefits for a number of areas of fish farming an important factor in the successful development of the industry. These are investment subsidies for capital investment, purchase of machinery and equipment, as well as reimbursement of costs for basic components for fish farming (purchase of feed, fry and medicines). 

In 2023, 4.1 billion tenge is provided for subsidies, which is 4 times more than a year earlier. Under the Sectoral Program, the amount of funds allocated from the budget for subsidies will be increased annually.

Favorable conditions for business are now being created in Kazakhstan, including:

  • expansion of state support measures in the form of subsidizing production and investment costs;
  • simplification of transfer of fishing reservoirs to the status of fish farms;
  • removal of restrictions on the location of fish farms in the water protection zone;
  • allowing construction of fish ponds without a design and construction plans and state expertise (only on the basis of preliminary designs).

In general, the country is expected to create more than 1 thousand new farms, it is planned to create more than 200 jobs. According to the Minister, in recent years, Kazakhstan has seen a steady increase in private investment in fisheries. If in 2021 was invested 6.1 billion tenge, then for 9 months of 2023 - more than 13 billion.

More than 12 thousand people are employed in fisheries today. There are 20 reservoirs of international and republican importance, and more than 3000 - local. Fishing is covered by more than 1300 users, to which more than 2000 water bodies and sites are assigned. For 10 months of 2023 about 35 thousand tons of fish were caught in them. 

Commercial fishing is mainly developed in Atyrau, Almaty, East Kazakhstan, Kyzylorda and Turkestan regions. For the last 5 years users have invested more than 10 billion tenge of their own financial resources in the industry within the framework of their obligations.

The work on creation of conditions for deep processing of fish is carried out in the republic. There are 72 processing enterprises, 17 of which meet high requirements and received the right to export fish products to EU countries. Another 13 Kazakhstani plants have applied for a similar right to export. 

In order to expand the export market between Kazakhstan and China, a veterinary certificate has been agreed upon, and 65 domestic enterprises have been included in the PRC register. Kazakhstani fish processors now export their products to 21 countries of the world, the largest consumers are Russia, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and PRC.

For entities engaged in catching and processing of fish, VAT has been reduced, in parallel, subsidizing of deep-processed fish products is being introduced. Measures are also taken to preserve the natural population of fish resources. According to the Ministry of Ecology, within the framework of the fight against poaching in Kazakhstan since the beginning of this year 4812 violations for the amount of more than 69 million tenge have been revealed, claims for the amount of 52 million tenge have been brought, 76 criminal cases have been initiated.

Special attention is paid to ensuring favorable conditions during the fish spawning period. Thus, in the western region the annual fish protection action "Bekire" is held, in other regions - the environmental action "Spawning". This year, about 100 million young fish of valuable species were raised and released into the natural habitat. Work is underway to reorient state enterprises to artificial cultivation of rare and endangered fish species. In order to further improve the legal framework, the draft Law on Business Affairs provides for a number of changes to simplify business and eliminate administrative barriers. 

Thus, it provides for:

  •  Exclusion of the state environmental expertise for biological justifications and abolition of procedures for water reservoir resealing;
  • conducting scientific research on local water bodies once every three years instead of annually; 
  • fixation of water bodies for realization of investment projects without a tender; 
  • authorizing the construction of facilities for servicing fish farms in the water protection zone;
  • provision of land adjacent to the assigned water body without competitive procedures for the placement of fish farming facilities.

The Minister believes that all these measures will increase the investment attractiveness of the industry, ensure the growth of production and export of fish products, create new jobs. All this together will lead to an increase in fish consumption by Kazakhstanis. It is also reported that from July 1, 2023, 100% additional payment to the salaries of the main sectoral workers. For these purposes from the budget allocated about 70 million tenge.

#Ecology #Ministry of Ecology #President's instruction

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