The United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce
The United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC) presents:
“Preservation of the Caspian Sea’s Unique Biodiversity: Challenges and Actions”
Chairman of the Management Board, LU-MUN Holding
"Saving and restoring the Caspian Sea's endemic species: Sturgeons and Salmons"
Executive Director, The Aquaponics Association
"Aquaponics: A tool for both sustainable food production and conservation"
DR. TIMOTHY SULLIVAN
National Program Leader, Animal Health and Aquaculture, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
"Regional Aquaculture Centers: A model of public-private engagement in aquaculture research and development"
Cofounder of Ag Salon, an informal association of members specializing or interested in international agriculture development
Background: The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest closed-water body. Sprawled between two continents in Central Eurasia, the basin is surrounded by five littoral countries – Azerbaijan in the West, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan in the East, Iran in the South, and Russia in the North.
The Caspian Sea is home to many varieties of endemic fauna and flora. Although the majority of the ecological community of the Sea is documented, it is also believed that this water reservoir houses many still undiscovered species. The endemic ecosystem of the Caspian Sea accounts for over 130 fish and 100 bird species. High endemism and poor immune protection against the introduced species are characteristic of the Caspian ecosystem. Over the years, many species inhabiting the Caspian Sea have been naturally outcompeted by species from other freshwaters.
The biological diversity of the Caspian region has long been endangered by industrial activities, over-exploitation for commercial and recreational purposes, and other man-caused and natural factors. For instance, over the years, the Ponto-Caspian sturgeon’s natural habitat, which requires a well-oxygenated and unpolluted environment, has been significantly affected, and the areas for the sturgeons’ spawning and reproduction have been altered by technogenic activities.
New developments: In recent years, improved aquaculture practices and regulative mechanisms in the Caspian region have benefited the natural growth of the endangered Acipenseriformes, such as the Caspian sturgeon. The growing application of a controlled environment for breeding and rearing fish by aquaculture fisheries has significantly reduced the capture of wild fish for commercial and recreational purposes. Supplementing wild populations with farmed fish relieves pressure on the already depleted wild stocks.
Moreover, aquaculture fisheries in the Caspian basin can contribute to research and development, providing new insights into the life cycle and behavior of the species. Through responsible and sustainable aquaculture practices, aquaculture businesses and regulators can improve the ecosystem's health by reducing the impact of pollutants and overfishing.
International legal frameworks: Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, however, the Caspian littoral states have taken several measures to ensure the environmental protection of the Caspian basin. In 1998, the Caspian states established the Caspian Environment Program (CEP) as a regional overarching program that aims to conserve the unique ecosystem of the Caspian Sea. Later, in 2006, the Tehran Framework Convention – a legal instrument of five littoral states came into force, laying down general requirements and institutional mechanisms for the environmental protection of the Caspian Sea. Moreover, the Caspian states coordinate their environmental protection activities with the framework of the Caspian Summit.
The “Preservation of the Caspian Sea’s Unique Biodiversity: Challenges and Actions” conference aims to raise awareness of the measures taken by the governments and the private sectors to support the reproduction of the wild population in the Caspian Sea. The conference is expected to stimulate future partnerships between the regional governments and the United States toward preserving and stimulating the reproduction of the Caspian sturgeon and other endangered species.
Being a public and private sector setting, this conference will allow hearing both governments’ positions and the private sector’s perspectives on conducting responsibly with nature.
REGISTRATION is required.
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