Forty tons of fish have died in the Iranian northwest as three major reservoirs have dried up due to the nation's severe drought, the official IRNA news agency reported Wednesday.
It cited a fisheries official as saying the fish had died since the beginning of the Iranian year in March, while three other dams can no longer be used for fish farming, causing a sharp drop-off in production.
Salman Shefaat, head of the state fishery in East Azerbaijan province, said that "1,260 tons of fish were expected to be cultivated in the current year but the water shortage will cut it down to 700."
Iran is being battered by a second straight year of drought, the worst here in 30 years, and UN officials have warned that a humanitarian catastrophe could be in the making.
At least 800,000 head of livestock have died and the United Nations estimates that some 60 percent of the rural population could be forced to move to urban areas, putting a further strain on city water resources.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)