EghtesadOnline: A total of 95,617 tons of seafood worth $290 million tons were exported from Iran during the first nine months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Dec. 21) to register a 15% and 9% growth in weight and value respectively compared with the corresponding period of last year.
“Close to 21,227 tons of the total tonnage pertained to shrimp exports worth over $102 million, registering a 39% and 42% rise in volume and value respectively year-on-year,” Director General of Iran Fisheries Organization's Seafood Quality Improvement, Processing and Marketing Promotion Department Isa Golshahi told Financial Tribune.
The official added that China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Lebanon, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Russia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Afghanistan were the main export destinations of Iranian seafood during the period.
“The figure is estimated to rise to between $550 million and $580 million by the end of this year,” Financial Tribune quoted Golshahi as saying.
According to the official, 137,580 tons of seafood and seafood products worth $507 million were exported from Iran in the last fiscal year (March 2017-18), registering a growth of 24% and 22% in weight and value respectively compared with the preceding year.
Last year's shrimp exports stood at a record high of 24,780 tons worth $116 million, registering a 64% and 67% growth in tonnage and value respectively year-on-year.
Golestan Province in the north and Qeshm Island in the south are major shrimp farming hubs of Iran.
Iran’s total seafood production stood at more than 1.2 million tons last year, indicating a 9.9% increase compared with the year before. Around 724,817 tons of the total sum were harvested from the sea and the remaining 477,269 tons were produced in aquatic farms.
Per capita seafood consumption in Iran currently stands at 11.2 kilograms, up from last year’s 10.6 kilograms. Yet, the figure is still way below the global average of 20 kilograms per year, according to IFO official.
“Seafood accounts for only 1% of Iran's agricultural production, but constitute close to 10% of the average value of the country's agricultural exports,” Golshahi had said in an earlier interview.
"Iran is the 24th biggest producer of seafood in the world," Hassan Salehi, the head of Iran Fisheries Organization, cited figures released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as saying.
“The country is placed 28th in seafood harvest from water bodies and 19th in seafood farming globally according to FAO data for last year,” Hassan Salehi was quoted as saying by Young Journalists Club.
Salehi added that some 230,000 people are employed in Iran’s seafood sector.