Dons, Officials Differ on Farming Fish in Caspian

Dons, Officials Differ  on Farming Fish in Caspian Dons, Officials Differ  on Farming Fish in Caspian

While professors of Mazandaran universities believe farming of rainbow trout in sea cages in the Caspian Sea “is incorrect and catastrophic for the environment,” some officials maintain that the plan implementation “is useful for job creation.”

At present the pilot plan is running in Kelarabad coastal area, western part of Mazandaran Province.

Although the new method has been employed by most countries which are active in the field of aquaculture in the last decades, but in the opinion of some experts, the implementation of the plan may vary in lakes, seas and oceans.

According to faculty members of Mazandaran universities, the plan “can cause sea water contamination and will be definitely harmful.” Given the different kinds of environmental contamination caused by fish farming in sea cages, including entry of waste waters and virus and bacterial diseases, which can endanger marine life, the professors urged the Department of Environment (DoE) and the country’s fisheries organization to prevent implementation of the plan in the Caspian Sea.

In the main document of the plan “Farming fish in the Caspian Sea,” different types of fish are allowed to be cultured in the cages such as sturgeon, carp fish, salmon and rainbow trout; but the main goal of the plan’s custodians is pisciculture of rainbow trout.

 Not Scientific

“Before execution of the plan, a Master’s degree thesis indicated that the project is not feasible to be carried out in the sea,” Hussein Rahmani, professor of Sari Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University (SANRU), Mazandaran, told IRNA.

“The fisheries department is the main authority to execute the plan; environmental hazards  resulting from its implementation should be carefully evaluated first by outside experts,” he added. There is no doubt the fisheries department goal is to create job opportunities and increase food production, as each cage can produce 20 tons of rainbow trout, but by employing erroneous methods and choosing a non-native species, they will not succeed,” he maintained.

Per ton of the farmed fish in the Caspian Sea can release 510 kg of solid waste, including unconsumed food and feces, about 110 kg of nitrogen and 20 kg phosphorus into the sea.

The amount of waste produced can even reach 800 kg in a specific period of time. “Ten years ago rainbow trout farming in ponds, in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province failed due to viral diseases. At present entry of non-native species is among the most important challenges to the country’s marine environment which should be prevented,” he added.