EghtesadOnline: Atotal of 120 million trout eyed eggs worth $3.1 million were imported during the last Iranian year (March 2020-21), showing a 162% and 60.76% plunge in the number and value respectively compared with the year before, according to the head of Iran Fisheries Organization.
“Domestic production last year exceeded 220 million eyed eggs up from 160 million of the year before,” Nabiollah Khounmirzaei was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
The official noted that Iran’s overall domestic demand for trout eyed eggs stands at 500 million per year.
With the production of 180,000 tons every year, Iran is the world’s leading trout producer in sweet- and salt-water bodies.
Contract-based trout production will reach 20,000 tons in the next two years, to mark a ninefold increase compared with the current figures, according to the director general of Seafood Quality Improvement, Processing and Market Promotion Department affiliated with IFO.
“At present, around 2,000 tons of trout are being produced as part of contract-based agreements with exporters and representatives of countries that are customers of Iranian seafood,” Isa Golshahi said.
Contract-based production, he added, is beneficial in many ways, including the fact that sales are guaranteed, cultivation is carried out with technical considerations to produce the exact quality, quantity and size ordered by the customer and consignments are delivered in specified periods.
“We have plans to engage in contract-based production of other seafood such as seabass and shrimps, samples of which have been sent to our potential export destinations for assessment,” he added.
Khounmirzaei noted that the import of eyed trout eggs decreased from 360 million eggs in 2013-14 to 120 million eggs in 2020-21, marking a decline of 67%.
Seafood consumption per capita in Iran reached 13.3 kg in the year ending March 2021, indicating a 56% increase compared with 8.5 kg in 2013 when President Hassan Rouhani took office.
The country’s overall seafood production increased by over 38% from 885,000 tons to 1.22 million tons during the period under review.
“In the fishing sector, output grew 35% from 514,000 tons in the year ending March 2014 to 700,000 tons last [Iranian] year. The aquaculture output also increased by 43% from 371,000 tons to 530,000 tons during the period,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Noting that Iran has always registered surplus when it comes to foreign trade of seafood, the IFO chief said, “Exports of fisheries exceeded $500 million in the year ending March 2021 from $304 million in the year ending March 2014, and the country’s trade surplus in this sector improved from $200 million to over $450 million.”
Khounmirzaei said caviar production grew from 1 ton to 12 tons during the period. He estimates that this year, 700,000 tons of seafood will be harvested from seas and 800,000 tons more will be produced in aqua farms.
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 increasing 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 is active in the industrial city of Shahr-e Kord.
Located 97 km of southwest of the central Iranian province of Isfahan, Shahr-e Kord ranks first in Iran regarding its capacity to breed salmon.