Caspian Sea 2011

State of the Environment of the Caspian Sea

ity, but mainly concentrate on the presence and abundance of specific species of fish, benthos, zooplankton and phytoplankton. Zooplankton, phytoplankton and benthic communities are ob- served in order to assess potential food supplies for valuable fish species. Data is gathered several times a year in different seasons and stored at various fishery institutions. Data from such activi- ties is usually made available through the publi- cation of scientific articles or, in some cases, may be obtained by special request. The quality of such data depends to a large extent on the budg- ets of the various institutions; in many cases, data is shared between countries on a bilateral basis. Data relating to quotas allocation—particularly that relating to fish stocks—is discussed annually by countries at sessions of the Intergovernmental Commission of Aquatic Bioresources (CAB). CAB is the only official regional organization conduct- ing joint fishery-related research and making de- cisions on the sharing of stocks, including those of sturgeon, tulka and seals. This intergovern- mental effort has already resulted in considerably improved cooperation and consultation amongst states with stocks of sturgeon, and has provided a powerful incentive for future collaboration. How- ever, some criticism has been expressed about the scientific and technical expertise of CAB: the TDA said it was “essential to establish and imple- ment a consistent, region-wide benthic and fish- eries monitoring programme”. All countries have given their support to mon- itoring. In general, this covers maximum pa- rameters on both environmental quality (water and air) and on marine biodiversity. Such data is considered to be reliable and complies with international standards. While such monitoring often covers only limited areas for which inter- national oil companies are responsible, there are also regular broader surveys round vast ma- rine areas. This data belongs to oil companies and is only made available by special request. All specific monitoring activities such as the monitoring of migratory birds or of invasive spe- cies were initiated as stand-alone projects for a limited period, constrained by available pro-

ject funding. Though data is often limited, these monitoring activities often provide a broad out- line picture of environmental conditions and biodiversity in the Caspian Sea. In general, data- and information-sharing is still limited in the region, as the various data is held by different institutions and organizations, and rarely analysed as a whole. 7.4. Public Participation Effective environmental management should involve the public in the formulation and adop- tion of decisions relating to the management of natural ecosystems, such as water and land. The state of natural resources, especially water, is of vital importance to everyone since economic well-being and health depend on it. Every citi- zen has the right to a healthy environment—and every citizen should care about its preservation. The right of the public, and particularly the right of affected stakeholders to participate in deci- sion-making processes, is now widely acknowl- edged in both national and international law (UNEP, UNDP, TACIS 2009). A number of reports have been produced as part of an effort to understand levels of public participation in environmental matters in the Caspian Sea region. One such report is the re- gional Stakeholder Analysis Report carried out in 2001, along with a revised version in 2004 (Matthews 2004). The objectives of these analy- ses were to identify major stakeholder groups and their interests and impact on the Caspian environment. The revised report observed trends in stakeholder interests and analyzed percep- tions and concerns relating to the activities of the Caspian Environment Programme. Based on the findings of these reports and conclusions reached after a lengthy regional consultation process, the Caspian Environment Programme formulated a Strategy for Civil So- ciety Engagement in the Caspian Sea Marine Environment known as the Public Participation


Made with FlippingBook - Online catalogs