In Northern Aral Sea, Rebound Comes With a Big Catch

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Science  21 Oct 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6054, pp. 303
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6054.303

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Six years ago, the Aral Sea had shrunk to one-tenth of its original size because Soviet-era planners had diverted most of the water that flowed into the lake from two rivers to irrigate cotton, creating three smaller lakes that became too salty for most fish. Now, since the 2005 construction of a $65 million dike, the northern part of the Aral has become a remarkably healthy fishery. The biomass, or weight of all the fish in the Northern Aral, has soared from an estimated 3500 tons in 2005 to 18,000 tons today, say regional fisheries managers.

  • * Christopher Pala is a writer based in Almaty, Kazakhstan.