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Iranian Official: Ban on beluga trade not to help revive Caspian reserves

Bandar Anzali, Gilan Prov., Oct 2, IRNA-The ban on the Caspian caviar trade will provide no help in reviving the sea's sturgeon reserves, said an Iranian official in Bandar Anzali on Sunday.

The representative of Iran and the Asian continent to the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Mohammad Pourkazemi told IRNA that undoubtedly, the ban on global trade of caviar will offer no help to save the Caspian reserves of sturgeon from extinction and the only solution to the problem is exchange of views, collaboration, planning and adoption of concrete measures by the littoral states.

Pourkazemi said Iran wants the Caspian sea littoral states to act coordinately and devise a plan for management of the sea's reserves, campaign unauthorized fishing and caviar smuggling.

He said the ban on import of the Caspian sturgeon by the US is restricted only to beluga and not other species of sturgeon and the sanction will not have any impact on the export and sale of Iranian caviar.

He added that Iran has more than a 50 percent or a 56 ton quota in the Caspian caviar, including one tons of beluga.

The official said Iran can continue exporting its beluga to Europe that is main consumer of this kind of caviar, adding that in the past Iran's beluga was not directly exported to the US.

Pourkazemi said 85 to 90 percent of Iran's caviar is marketed in Europe and Asia and the US sanctions can not affect Iran's caviar exports and therefore there is no cause of concern in this regard.

The US said Thursday it was suspending imports of beluga caviar from Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan as of Friday following a complaint by the US Fish and Wildlife Service that Caspian Sea states such as Iran and Russia have failed to take necessary actions in protecting endangered sturgeon.

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