Successful conclusion of FISHCap project offers promise for new ventures

04 March 20244 min reading

The successful conclusion of the FISHCap project, implemented under the FAO-Türkiye Partnership Programme, signifies a significant milestone in enhancing fisheries and aquaculture sectors in Central Asia. Through regional collaboration, capacity building, and resilience amidst challenges, FISHCap has contributed to sustainable development, aligning with global priorities such as the Sustainable Development Goals.

Pressure on agrifood systems from climate extremes, economic shocks and ongoing conflicts has led to mounting recognition of the urgent need to improve, promote and sustain aquatic food systems, with food security and nutrition becoming increasingly prominent on the global agenda.

For millennia, fisheries and aquaculture have been key social and economic drivers in many regions, providing essential livelihoods and forming the basis of regional diets, especially among populations vulnerable to poverty and malnutrition.

In Central Asia, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture represent significant untapped potential, yet enhancing institutional capacity for increased production and development remains a persistent challenge.

In response to these challenges, the FISHCap project was launched under the umbrella of the FAO-Türkiye Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture (FTPP II), and implemented in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Türkiye, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, to address obstacles to sustainability in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

Throughout the implementation period, which began in January 2020 with a budget of USD 1 million provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Türkiye (MoAF), the project helped to increase regional capacities to effectively address the sustainable exploitation, management, protection and development of freshwater resources for sustainable fish production in support of food safety.

The FISHCap project ended with a closing workshop held in Izmir on 18–19 January 2024 with the participation of senior officials from the beneficiary countries.

Speaking at the opening session of the workshop, Fuat Kasımcan, Director-General of the European Union and Foreign Relations at MoAF, referred to FISHCap as one of the most prominent projects of the FTPP II.

M. Altuğ Atalay, Director-General of Fisheries and Aquaculture at MoAF, mentioned that the successful implementation and achievements of FISHCap are a testament to the efforts and persistence of all those involved, particularly in the light of the COVID-19-related challenges that arose during the implementation phase. Atalay also drew attention to the ongoing collaboration between MoAF and FAO in Türkiye on fisheries and aquaculture under different programmes and projects, including through the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Viorel Gutu, FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for Central Asia and Representative in Türkiye, thanked all the institutions and actors involved in the project. He also noted the key role that FISHCap played in bringing beneficiary countries together and highlighted the contributions of FISHCap to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Following these opening remarks, Haydar Fersoy, FAO Senior Fishery and Aquaculture Officer and Lead Technical Officer of FISHCap, presented the key activities and deliverables of the project, emphasizing the importance of sharing best management practices in the fisheries and aquaculture sector among the beneficiary countries.

 This was followed by a session dedicated to oral and video presentations by national project coordinators which gave participants an opportunity to learn about the ways in which FISHCap has impacted the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the subregion. The first day of the workshop ended with participatory discussions on regional gaps and priorities, which will inform a supplementary project.

On the second day of the workshop, participants provided constructive inputs on the project’s sustainability. The wealth of project ideas shared provide opportunities for FISHCap to explore new horizons in different forms.


The objectives of the FAO-Türkiye Partnership Programmes are to provide support to ensure food security, rural poverty reduction and sustainable forest management; combat desertification; and preserve ecosystems in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Türkiye, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and other countries of mutual interest.

Established in 2007, the first phase of the FAO-Türkiye Partnership Programme on Food and Agriculture (FTPP) has benefited from trust fund contributions totalling USD 10 million, financed by the Government of Türkiye and represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. During the first phase of the programme, 28 projects were implemented in 16 countries between 2009 and 2015.

In 2014, Türkiye and FAO commenced the second phase of the FTPP along with the first phase of the FAO-Türkiye Forestry Partnership Programme (FTFP) with additional funding of USD 20 million, bringing Türkiye’s total contribution to USD 30 million.

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