Restoration of Caspian Fish Reserves

Restoration of Caspian Fish Reserves
Restoration of Caspian Fish Reserves

The release of 150 million Caspian kutum (Caspian white fish) fingerlings began a month ago and will continue until the last week of July as part of efforts to restore Caspian Sea reserves, said Ishaq Shabani, director general of Gilan Fisheries Organization.

Nearly $2.2 million and $1.5 million have been spent on culturing the Caspian kutum and sturgeon fingerlings respectively, IRNA quoted him as saying.

Releasing two million sturgeon fingerlings is also on the agenda.

“The measures have been taken to provide healthy sea food to the people as well as to preserve the Caspian’s ecological biodiversity,” Shabani said.

Four rivers in the eastern part and Sefidroud, Khoshkroud and Shalmanroud rivers in western Gilan Province are suitable for breeding fingerlings.

Shabani said fishermen will be allowed to harvest only 10% of the fingerlings when they mature.

Annually, 9,000 tons of different kinds of bonefish are taken from the sea reserves. Iran’s Fisheries Organization is responsible to restore fish harvested from the sea.

Nearly 80% of fingerlings released into the sea are kutum and the remaining are other fish varieties.

The annual per capita consumption of fish is 9 kg in the country, 50% lower than the global rate.

Caspian kutum was prevalent in huge numbers at one time and was harvested commercially, but due to overfishing and marine pollution, their population declined drastically and they can no longer sustain themselves. The fish and its roe (eggs) are delicacies and highly prized in Gilan and Mazandaran provinces.

Three breeding populations (one autumn and two springs) are found in the rivers; a freshwater form exists in the south Caspian.

The sturgeon (beluga) is found primarily in the Caspian and Black Sea basins, and occasionally in the Adriatic Sea. Heavily fished for the female’s valuable roe or caviar, it is a huge and late-maturing fish that can live for 118 years. The species’ numbers have also greatly reduced by overfishing and poaching, prompting littoral governments to impose restrictions on its trade.