Uptake of water for irrigation is one of the factors seen to be responsible for the present changes in the water level as water from most of the rivers has been completely diverted for irrigation before reaching the lake. Irrigation hinders also the river reproduction of many species as it prevents spawning fish from entering the rivers or fry to return to the lake. During when fish catches started to decrease the total decline of the water level was cm, at an average rate of seven cm annually.
1,000-Year Environmental History of Lake Issyk-Kul
It is not clear, if and how much radioactive waste has already gone into the lake or still goes in from incorrectly closed tailing sites and uranium dumps. Maybe even more serious water pollution comes from illegal dumping or storing of toxic chemicals currently in use at a gold mine in Tian Shan Mountains. This mine uses daily up to 10 tonnes of cyanide in its operations, and many of toxic chemicals are released into the environment. This is surely affecting fish populations downstream and the health of local people using the contaminated water or fish for drink and food.
Existing water and sanitation and waste disposal infrastructure in the Issyk-Kul area is decrepit, dysfunctional, poorly managed and has negative impacts on the environment. The planned tourist influx equivalent to four times the resident population will apply excessive pressure on the existing infrastructure, which will result in further pollution of the lake.
Important problem is the total absence of any fisheries management and lack of controlled protection of fish stocks and diversity. Fishing ban is not helpful as it cannot be controlled and monitored. Exploring co-management arrangements is a better option than command and control as the resources are not available for such policy measure.
Rare and endangered indigenous fish species will not increase without artificial propagation in local hatcheries. Stocking the lake with small indigenous species is not viable, if not first harvesting the large predators.
Pike-perch would just eat small indigenous species and grow bigger and spawn more. Over-fishing of introduced species, like Rainbow Trout and Pike-perch, could be a good thing. As popular food fish and recreational catch, they could be severely over fished. This could lead to population reduction, and several populations of endemic fish species should soon show signs of increasing numbers. So the authors should allow the local fishing communities capture large introduced fish species as much as they can rather than restricting them through moratorium. Any new development initiatives must be consultative and participatory in order to be more consistent with local habits and cultural values.
Inherited customs provide an important element for the development of locally based resource management system. Consequently, allocation and sustainable management of natural resources is one of the key issues for the local population, whose daily cash economy is directly dependent on availability of fish resources. Before being able to define the best management ways, one needs further research in taxonomy and fish biology.
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The knowledge of fish stock parameters is essential for the determination of appropriate fisheries management and definition of sustainable fish yield. Impact of mining toxins and radioactive waste is important to study and to know for control measures. Water pollution is a continuous risk for this important lake, and has to be halted in the future.
The Kyrgyz public must be engaged in the future through environmental education in conservation and preservation of natural and cultural riches of the Issyk-Kul area. My deepest gratitude goes to Mrs. Burul Nazarmatova who translated all grey Russian literature into English and collected a lot of relevant Soviet time data from the internet.
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Physical and chemical environment Although located at a high altitude, Issyk-Kul Lake never freezes over. Biological features Lake Issyk - Kul flora contains emerged macrophytes, like Phragmites australis, Typha latifolia and Scirpus tabermaemontani until the depth of 1. Distribution and abundance of fish fauna The original fish fauna comprised twelve indigenous species and two subspecies particular to this lake Table 1.
Table 1. Background and historical overview 3.
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Introductions of alien fish species At least 19 species have been introduced to the lake by humans, either on purpose or accidentally. Table 2. Introduction of alien food species for fish The fish food base was successfully enriched by the introduction of mysids , which became targeted by the introduced coregonids.
Recreational and commercial fishing activities Amateur fishing in the lake started in the s. Water level In historical terms the water level of Issyk-Kul Lake has obviously fluctuated. Irrigation Uptake of water for irrigation is one of the factors seen to be responsible for the present changes in the water level. Results and discussion 5. Species introduced It is obvious that Sevan Trout and Pike-perch introductions can be blamed for the reduction in catch.
Table 3. Correlations of main fish species in the catch between and Hatchery failure Reproduction of many alien and endemic fish species was severely constrained by the limited number of suitable spawning rivers. Table 4. Impact evaluation of different natural and anthropogenic factors on fish stocks and biodiversity. Cage farming of fish The cage farming of Rainbow Trout started in by Alfa Laval Avose, but was not economically viable due to the high cost of feed.
Moratorium and illegal fishing In order to protect the decreased fish stocks in the lake, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic declared a Moratorium for Artisanal and Commercial Fish catching for a period of 10 years Management and conservation possibilities It is far too easy to blame over-fishing that some species became nearly extinct and that fewer fish are caught.
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Water pollution Widespread mining operations are causing disruption of soils, terrain and water tables but more serious water pollution comes from illegal dumping or storing of toxic chemicals currently in use at Kumtor gold mine, in Tian Shan Mountains. Climate change implications Within the Issyk-Kul basin there are glaciers of various sizes ranging from less than 0. Other human activities There are recent reports on the radioactive waste contamination in Central Asia [ 43 ] showing that the situation is critical especially in Kyrgyzstan, with 36 tailing sites and 25 uranium dumps in the country.
Table 5. Concluding remarks Issyk-Kul Lake is the second largest high-altitude lake in the world providing recreational and small-scale fishing activities as well as cage culture of Rainbow Trout in the Kyrgyz Republic. Acknowledgement My deepest gratitude goes to Mrs. More Print chapter. How to cite and reference Link to this chapter Copy to clipboard. Cite this chapter Copy to clipboard Heimo Mikkola August 29th Available from:. Over 21, IntechOpen readers like this topic Help us write another book on this subject and reach those readers Suggest a book topic Books open for submissions.
More statistics for editors and authors Login to your personal dashboard for more detailed statistics on your publications. Access personal reporting. More About Us. Scientific name. Common name. Onchorhynchus mykiss. Rainbow Trout. Salmo ischchan. Sevan Trout.
Coregonus lavaretus. Common Whitefish. Coregonus widegreni. Valaam Whitefish. Coregonus autumnalis.
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Baikal Omul. Leuciscus schmidti. Leuciscus bergi. Issyk-Kul Dace. Phoxinus issykkulensis.