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Iran caviar output up 12-fold in seven years: Fishery chief

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows an Iranian sturgeon farmer.

Iran has boosted its caviar output by 12 times in seven years to reach over 12 metric tons of harvest in the year to late March 2020, according to the country’s fishery chief.

Nabiollah Khunmirzaei said on Saturday that Iran currently exports half of its caviar output for a base price of $800 per kilogram.

“The harvest can sell for $1,200 to $1,300 if it is offered in proper packaging,” said Khunmirzaei as he insisted that the sturgeon roe produced in Iran is the best in the world in terms of quality.

The official said Iran Fisheries Organization (Shillat) has plans to further boost caviar output by expanding sturgeon farming to all provinces in the country.

He said a total of 175 aquaculture farms in 21 Iranian provinces are solely focused on caviar production.

Iran has an agreement with littoral states of the Caspian Sea to ban sturgeon fishing in the body of water.

However, rising sturgeon egg harvests from onshore farms over the past years have helped boost exports to markets where there is a high demand for Iranian caviar.

Khunmirzaei said new methods of farming caviar in cages in the sea have been tested in recent years. He said Shillat plans to expand those practices to further boost caviar harvest.

The official said Iran’s sturgeon meat production reached 3,500 tons in the year to late March, up nearly six times against the year to March 2013.


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