Developing Fish Passages in Outlet Parts of Small Mountain Streams

20 Aug 2018 Ismailli, Azerbaijan, Asia Fishes

Rovshan Abbasov

Other projects

28 Nov 2011

Improving Habitat for Caspian Sturgeons

19 Mar 2015

Saving Small Streams for Sturgeons

Sturgeon populations in the Caspian Sea has decreased to a critical level. Caspian Sea sturgeons are the only sources of black caviar. The small streams are spawning grounds for the sturgeons. Our idea includes construction of fish passages in downstream-upstream locations of water withdrawal dams on small streams which provide a natural spawning grounds for sturgeons. These fish passages will provide a safe corridor for passing of spawning sturgeons from the Caspian Sea to small streams. The target area is located in a central part of Azerbaijan

Before excavation.

Before excavation.

Over the last decades sturgeon populations in the Caspian Sea has decreased to a critical level. The small streams provide spawning grounds for the valuable sturgeon fish of the Caspian Sea, which contains over 90% of the world’s sturgeon population. The sturgeons migrate to small rivers from the Caspian Sea in March–April and October–November, to spawning on grounds in the areas close to outlets. The regular water withdrawals require construction of dams, which block fish ways to move upstream and blocks fish migration. It is common picture to see huge number of populations trying to pass from downstream of small dams to upstream.

Our idea includes construction of small scale fish ladders that make connection between downstream and upstream parts dams. These fish ladders will be safe corridors for passing sturgeons from downstream to upstream. For this purpose, we are going to take four small streams in a central Azerbaijan, which directly flow into the Caspian Sea. These fish passages include small scale migration routes, where full hydraulic head for migrating fish will be provided. It should be noted that construction of fish ladders is a first effort not only in Azerbaijan, but also in all Caspian countries.

The project sites are located in the central part of Azerbaijan, where small rivers flow into the Caspian Sea. Four small dams are taken as a pilot sites for the project. This a region where small rivers and the Caspian Sea comprise unit ecosystem. Four fish ladders will be constructed in places, where natural circumstances for sturgeons moving upstream does not exist. Also, we will to mobilize local farmers to use our previously developed fish protection devices. In order to promote fish protection devices, we will involve to our project local irrigation departments and Water Users Associations (WUA). WUAs will help us to build relationships with local owners of water withdrawal sites.

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