On May 12-13, the ASPIRED Project facilitated the 3rd meeting of the Interagency Task Force on optimization of groundwater fee rates by fisheries operating in Ararat and Armavir marzes.
During the two-day workshop participants were presented the results of the survey among fish farms as well as the optimal fee rate analysis for the groundwater use by fisheries.
Overall, 80 fisheries were considered in the survey, of which some 34 fisheries were actually interviewed. Others were not surveyed due to various reasons, such as reluctance to participate, the fish farm in the process of liquidation and other arguments. The presentation covered the main issues of the aquaculture sector cited by the majority of respondents, namely unequal conditions for competition both in the domestic and export markets, limited export opportunities, increasing water use and energy tariffs, rising feed prices, low quality of local feed available, unused opportunities for the secondary use of water, unequal tax conditions.
The analysis of optimal groundwater fee rates for fisheries of Ararat and Armavir presented mechanisms for the formation of fees, including also the block scheme of the resource fee. As the best solution, the increase of the share of the resource fee in the overall product price should provide an additional impetus for fish farmers to save the water resource and introduce new saving technologies in order to ensure the profitability of the business. The best scenario also opts for the preservation of the product cost at the same level due to the reduction of other components influencing the final cost.
The final recommendations on the optimal groundwater fee level for the fisheries will be discussed by the Task Force members with their respective agencies and presented before the last meeting of the Task Force in June.