Press TV - Iran has voluntarily reduced its caviar export quota amid concerns about dwindling sturgeon populations in the Caspian Sea.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran has opted for a voluntary cut of its export quota by one ton this year," said director of Iran's Sturgeon Research Institute, Mohammad Pourkazemi on Tuesday.
"To protect the Caspian sturgeon stock, Iran has restricted its caviar export quota from 43 tons to 42 tons in 2008," the Iranian official told IRIB.
Pollution, over-fishing, poaching and smuggling has dangerously lowered the Caspian sturgeon stock, since it targets reproductive females.
"The Caviar export quotas set for the five Caspian littoral states were about 92 tons last year and decreased to 91 tons this year due to the voluntary reduction of quota by Iran," Pourkazemi said.
Over 90 percent of the world's caviar is produced in the Caspian Sea, harvested by Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Russia.
The quota is set by the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, an international body that governs trade in endangered species.
Iranian scientists estimate that sturgeon could be extinct within 14 years if poaching is not controlled.
Environmentalists have described Iran as 'the shining star of sturgeon management in the Caspian' as the country made considerable efforts to preserve the species by releasing thousands of sturgeons into the sea each year.
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