Iran exported some 70 tons of caviar in the last Iranian year which ended on March 21, the managing director of the country's fisheries company Mohammad Reza Hosseini said in this northern city.
Iran exported some 70 tons of caviar in the last Iranian year which ended on March 21, the
managing director of the country's fisheries company Mohammad Reza Hosseini said in this northern city on Thursday.
The exports fetched the Islamic Republic 100 million marks, he
said, adding that 80 percent of the product went to Europe, 10 percent
to Japan and the rest to other countries.
The country's total sturgeon catch in the period reached 800
tons, which produced 90 tons of caviar, Hosseini said.
Iran's Fisheries Organization, he said, has projected to export
80 tons of caviar by the end of March, 2001.
According to the official, Iran also exports some 100-200 tons
of sturgeon annually, which earns the country two to three million
Iran, along with Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan,
account for 90 percent of world trade in black caviar, which fetches
them 100 million dollars annually.
They are the five littoral states of the Caspian Sea and major
producers of black caviar. The four latter states pledged in June not to fish sturgeon this
year, after the standing committee CITES, the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species warned that the Caspian Sea
poaching had reached the scale of organized crime and amounted to 13
times the legal catch, putting the sturgeon population on the brink of
extinction. The committee exempted Iran from censure since it has in place a
functioning management system.
According to CITES officials, official catch levels of sturgeon in
the Caspian Sea have fallen from a peak of 30,000 tons in the late
1970s to less than a tenth of that figure today, as the old system of
joint state control of the caviar market by the Soviet Union and Iran
collapsed. Pollution, reduced river flow and the destruction of spawning
sites -- where the caviar, sturgeon's eggs, is produced -- have also
contributed to the fall, they said.
CITES officials were considering recommending a worldwide ban on
imports of caviar because of the lack of action by the four former
Soviet republics. Prices of legally exported caviar have skyrocketed and are set to
increase further if restrictions are put in place.