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Caspian states to ban caviar fishing

The Caspian Sea littoral states have agreed-in-principle to ban the hunting of caviar-producing sturgeon in the Caspian Sea for a five-year period.

According to an agreement reached at the end of the third Caspian summit in Azerbaijan, environmental experts from the five Caspian Sea littoral states were tasked with outlining measures within three months to implement a ban on sturgeon fishing.

The third summit of the Caspian Sea leaders opened in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku on November 18.

Findings of a research by Iran’s Caviar Fish Research Center released two years ago showed Iran’s caviar reserves would finish within the next 12 years.

Uncontrolled fishing and pollution caused by oil and gas exploitations are serious threats to sturgeon and other marine species of the Caspian Sea.

Caspian Sea sturgeon accounts for 90 percent of the world’s caviar. The Major population of sturgeon lives in the southern parts of the Caspian Sea where the sea is much deeper.

In 2006, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), affiliated to the United Nations, prohibited international trade of caviar products due to the fact that sturgeon fish was on the verge of extinction.

After the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991, different species of sturgeon faced extinction due to uncontrolled fishing in the Caspian Sea.

Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Iran are the five Caspian Sea littoral states. Only Iran and Russia have restricted sturgeon fishing in the Caspian Sea.

The first summit of the Caspian Sea littoral states took place in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on April 23-24, 2002, and the second in Tehran, Iran on October 16, 2007.

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