Iran plans to double caviar exports in a year: official

April 29, 2015

TEHRAN- Iran plans to double its annual caviar exports to 1.5-2 million tons in the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 21, according to Head of Iran's Fisheries Organization Hassan Salehi.

Salehi said that last year, some 1,200 kilograms of caviar was produced in the country, of which about 1,000 kilograms was exported, the Mehr News Agency reported on Tuesday.

On April 14, Hossein Abdolhay, the deputy director of Iran’s Fishery Organization, put the worth of country’s caviar exports at €960,000 in the past calendar year, saying that Iran’s caviar output is projected to triple in the current year.

In 2010, the five Caspian Sea littoral states (Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Iran) agreed to ban the fishing of caviar-producing sturgeon in the Caspian Sea for a five-year period.

The five countries will probably agree on extending the ban for another five-year period in a summit, which is due to be held in June in Russia, Salehi stated.

Uncontrolled fishing and pollution caused by oil and gas exploitations are serious threats to sturgeon and other marine species of the Caspian Sea. 

Caspian Sea sturgeon accounts for 90 percent of the world's caviar. The Major population of sturgeon lives in the southern parts of the Caspian Sea where the sea is much deeper. 

In 2006, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), affiliated to the United Nations, prohibited international trade of caviar products due to the fact that sturgeon fish was on the verge of extinction. 

After the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991, different species of sturgeon faced extinction due to uncontrolled fishing in the Caspian Sea.