Friday, 20 June 2008

World Bank says fishing will return to the Aral Sea

ALMATY, Kazakhstan: The people of the Aral Sea region, site of one the world's worst ecological disasters, may soon see their economy revitalized and large-scale fishing and farming return, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said Thursday.After decades of shrinking, the northern section of the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan has started to fill up and fish stocks have soared as a result of a dam-building project, giving hope of revival in the region.
"As poor people around the world struggle to keep food on their tables in the face of rising prices, it is gratifying to see that Kazakhstan has found a way to give back fishermen and their families their way of life on the Northern Aral Sea," Zoellick said.

Growing populations and income levels coupled with poor coordination of water management among Central Asian states have strained water supplies. Almost all countries in the region have been severely affected this year by water shortages, which have ruined vast areas of crops and forced up prices of staple foods.Zoellick said the renewed health of the Aral Sea suggested Kazakhstan may be saved from the threat of shortages in the next few years.
"The return of the Northern Aral Sea shows that man-made disasters can be at least partly reversed, and that food production depends on the sound management of scarce water resources and the environment," he said.

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