The English-language paper 'Iran Daily' on Monday quoted Lotfollah Saeidi, head of the Iran Fisheries Company, as saying before the company can be established it would have to obtain the required permit to produce caviar.
The official further said that harvests of sturgeon fish, which produces caviar, has dropped considerably in recent years due to environmental reasons.
He said Iran is playing a crucial role in the preservation of aquatic resources of the Caspian Sea, stressing that the Islamic Republic is determined to crack down on the illegal caviar trade.
Iran remains the world's largest caviar exporter with 59.9 tons.
Turkmenistan, with three tons, holds the lowest caviar export quota among Caspian Sea littoral states.
Russia, the second biggest exporter after Iran, is authorized to export 20.7 tons of caviar followed by Kazakhstan, 14 tons, and Azerbaijan, six tons.
Iran released about 600,000 sturgeon fingerlings to the Caspian Sea during August-October.
The primary goal of the four-year sturgeon reproduction assistance program is to increase the population of this valuable fish, which has been declining at an alarming rate in recent years.
Iran plans to release 20 million fingerlings each year.
Currently, export quotas for sturgeon meat and caviar are restricted in compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which controls the number of endangered sturgeon.
CITES has restricted exports of all species of sturgeon, putting the limit at 50 percent of total harvest for beluga, 40 percent for star sturgeon, and 10 percent for Russian and Persian sturgeon.
... Payvand News - 12/27/04 ... --