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Poachers threaten Caspian Sea's sturgeon species, caviar production

Tehran, Nov 2, IRNA-The head of Iran's State Fisheries Organization said in Tehran on Wednesday that the illegal harvest of sturgeon fish reached 18 tons in the year up to March, 2006 which is equal to the amount legally harvested of the caviar species in the same period.

Deputy Agriculture Jihad Minister Shabanali Nezami was quoted by Iran Daily as saying that sturgeon poaching in other Caspian Sea littoral states was 10-15 times the legal activity, describing the illegal activity as the main threat to this caviar producing species.

He said his organization has stationed more guards in breeding areas of the species in order to discourage poachers from preying on these rare sturgeons, and hoped the move would lead to a decline in the amount of sturgeon illegally caught which, he said, has dropped sharply in the past 15 years.

IRNA on Wednesday quoted Nezami as saying that the ninth government has put the Comprehensive Shrimp Production Scheme on its agenda, adding that with the country's 150,000 hectares of shrimp farms seafood production could reach one million tons per annum.

Speaking at the Fourth International Fisheries, Seafood and Fishing Exhibition on Kish Island, Hormuzgan province, he identified the quality of Iran's seafood as the major problem of the fisheries industry, adding that the quality of Iranian seafood, compared to that of developed countries, was low.

He said that the Iranian seafood industry had the potential of increasing its share in the global seafood business because its prices were comparatively lower.

... Payvand News - 11/2/06 ... --

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