A caviar company is to be set up in Iran in mid-2005 in a bid to organize production and export of this expensive seafood. The English-language newspaper Iran Daily on Monday quoted Lotfollah Saeidi, head of the Iran Fisheries Company, as saying before the company can be established it would have to obtain the required permit to produce caviar.
Iran remains the world's largest caviar exporter with 59.9 tons. Turkmenistan, with three tons, holds the lowest caviar export quota among Caspian Sea littoral states. Russia, the second biggest exporter after Iran, is authorized to export 20.7 tons of caviar followed by Kazakhstan, 14 tons, and Azerbaijan, six tons.
Iran released about 600,000 sturgeon fingerlings to the Caspian Sea during August-October.
Iran intends to release 20 million fingerlings each year. Currently, export quotas for sturgeon meat and caviar are restricted in compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which controls the number of endangered sturgeon.
CITES has restricted exports of all species of sturgeon, putting the limit at 50 percent of total harvest for beluga, 40 percent for star sturgeon, and 10 percent for Russian and Persian sturgeon.