The disintegration of the Soviet Union had profound economic and social effects on many of the newly independent transition economies. Nowhere was this more so than in the fisheries sector — with one of the biggest production shortfalls occurring in Kyrgyzstan, following the collapse of lake capture and pond-culture production. In 2005, aggregate landings were just 48 tonnes — barely 3 per cent of the catch level recorded in 1989. This article has two objectives. First it analyses the extent to which the dissolution of the Soviet Union can explain the collapse of the fisheries sector in Kyrgyzstan. Second, in the light of these findings, it considers what practical steps, if any, might be taken to revitalize the sector.