Bill on protection of Caspian Sea biodiversity approved

October 17, 2021 - 17:48

TEHRAN – The Majlis (Iranian Parliament) has approved the draft Protocol for the Conservation of Biodiversity, annexed to the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea.

Implementation of this Protocol shall be affected by the Contracting Parties in accordance with their national laws, Mehr reported on Sunday.

Under the bill, the Contracting Parties shall individually or jointly take all appropriate measures to protect, and rehabilitate the marine environment of the Caspian Sea; use the natural resources of the Caspian Sea in a way that does not harm the marine environment and biological resources, and promote, protect and revitalize biodiversity with special emphasis on endangered species.

In order to protect biodiversity, the Contracting Parties shall monitor sources of pollution and any activities that have or may have a significant negative impact on habitats and species; or cooperate with each other and with competent international organizations in the field of biodiversity conservation and the management of endangered habitats and species.

The average annual water level of the Caspian Sea has decreased by about 5 to 10 cm compared to a year before, according to the network information of the Ministry of Energy.

The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed inland body of water on Earth by area. It is bounded by Kazakhstan to the northeast, Russia to the northwest, Azerbaijan to the west, Iran to the south, and Turkmenistan to the southeast. The sea has an area of 600,384 square kilometers and a coastline of 7,000 kilometers.

Hosting 400 aquatic species and holding third place in terms of oil and gas reserves under its bed after the “Persian Gulf” and “Siberia” has doubled the value of this basin, while sturgeon are the most important inhabitants of the lake.

Frequent oil spills in the coastal areas of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, the entry of waste of over 40 factories and refineries into the sea, the decline, and extinction of the Caspian Sea aquatic species since 1990, are among the main challenges faced by the Caspian Sea.

Long-term forecasts based on climate change scenarios show a 4-6 meter drop in the lake's water level over the next 30 to 50 years.

The environmental issues of the Sea have pushed the sole marine mammal inhabiting the Caspian Sea to not have suitable breeding grounds.

FB/MG

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