EghtesadOnline: A total of 146,000 tons of seafood worth $539 million were exported from Iran in the last fiscal year (March 2019-20), according to the head of Iran Fisheries Organization.
“The figures show a respective rise of 1.41% and 2.06% in tonnage and value compared with the 143,970 tons of exports worth $528 million in the previous year,” Nabiollah Khounmirzaei was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
He added that seafood imports over the same period stood at around 29,000 tons worth $98.9 million, marking a rise of 41.28% in value compared with the figure of fiscal 2018-19.
Iran is a major seafood producer in the region, with trout, caviar and shrimp currently being the main exported products of its fisheries sector.
According to the official, shrimp production will reach 52,000 tons by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2021).
“Sturgeon production in 126 farms dedicated to this purpose across 21 provinces is estimated to reach 3,600 tons. Fish farming in cages will also yield a total of 15,000 tons by the yearend,” he said.
Khounmirzaei noted that Iran Fisheries Organization has issued permits for tilapia cultivation in the provinces of Yazd, Qom, Semnan and South Khorasan, adding that the production of 5,000 tons of this fish species is projected in the current Iranian year.
He told IRNA that seafood production is estimated to reach 1.5 million tons by the end of the current year to register a %15 rise compared with the previous year's output.
“Aquaculture is predicted to account for some 800,000 tons of the total sum and the remaining 700,000 tons will be harvested from water bodies. This means that for the first time, our production from seafood farms will surpass our fishing yield,” he said
Khounmirzaei further said Iran’s seafood sector has created a total of 233,059 direct and indirect jobs.
“Per capita seafood consumption in Iran has increased from the last fiscal year’s 12.1 kilograms per year to 13.3 kg this year,” he said.
Isa Golshahi, director general of IFO’s Seafood Quality Improvement, Processing and Market Promotion Department, says the organization aims to bring this figure close to the annual global average of 20 kilograms.
Over the past few years, Iran has set up cages for fish farming in the sea as well as water bodies behind dams, and is expanding the business as part of its plans to increase seafood production.
Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari Province in southwest Iran accounts for 40% of Iran's seafood production.
The province has the capacity to produce 240,000 tons of seafood per year.
Middle East's biggest seafood production units are active in the industrial city of Shahr-e Kord.
Located 97 km from the central Iranian province of Isfahan, Shahr-e Kord has the biggest salmon breeding capacity in Iran.