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Iranian Fisheries Status: An Update (2004-2014)

Harlioglu MM* and Farhadi A

Department of Fisheries, Fırat University, Elazig, Turkey

*Corresponding Author:
Harlioglu MM
Fisheries Faculty, Firat University, Elazig, Turkey
Tel: +0090 4242370000
Fax: +0090 4242386287
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: February 24, 2017; Accepted date: March 17, 2017; Published date: March 23, 2017

Citation: Harlioglu MM, Farhadi A (2017) Iranian Fisheries Status: An Update (2004-2014). Fish Aqua J 8:192. doi:10.4172/2150-3508.1000192

Copyright: © 2017 Harlioglu MM, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Abstract

Iran’s appropriate geographical location (i.e., large brackish water source in the north, Caspian Sea, salt water source in the south, Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman) and a wide range of brackish, freshwater and marine species (i.e., trout, carp, sturgeon, sea bass, sea bream, turbot, mackerel, sardine, tuna, sea cucumber, marine shrimp, crayfish) provides Iran to be a great fish producer country. The total fishery production was 947,352 tons in 2014. In this year, 575,512 tons (60.74% of total fishery production) of fish production were obtained from the capture fisheries and 371,840 tons (39.26% of total fishery production) of production was obtained from the aquaculture production. Fisheries in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman are the most important fishery (93% of total fishery) in Iran. There has been a fast increase in the aquaculture production in Iran. For example, total aquaculture production for 2004 and 2014 was 124,560 and 349,365 tons, respectively. Therefore, the percentage of aquaculture in total fish production has been rising every year. The ratio of aquaculture production to total fish production was 26.26% in 2004, 32.65% in 2008 and 39.26% in 2014. Rainbow trout and carps are the main cultured freshwater fish species. In recent years, fisheries production export of Iran has been increased from US$ 85 million in 2004 to US$ 300 million in 2014. In conclusion, despite Iran’s long coastline, fishery has not been developed completely and has the potential to be developed more by enhancing aquaculture and fish cage culture.

Keywords

Aquaculture; Export; Statistics; Fisheries; Iran

Introduction

Iran is surrounded by three seas: the Caspian Sea at the north, the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman at the south. It has a long coastline exceeding 5,800 km, about 890 km in the north (Caspian Sea coast) and 4,900 km in the south (Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman coast including coastline around the islands) [1]. In addition, Iran has a great variety of marine and freshwater resources. Table 1 shows important marine and freshwater resources, and their surface area in Iran. There are differences between biological contents and climatic conditions among Iran’s sea. These difference water conditions result in diversity of fish species and provides many resources for fisheries activity in Iran. The fisheries are one of the most important agriculture industries in Iran (REF). Providing human nutrition and raw material for industrial sectors, creating employment possibilities and generating high potential for export earnings.

Seas and Lakes Dam Lakes Rivers
Caspian sea (370,987) Aras (145) Helmand  (1,150)
Gulf of Oman (903,000) Shahyun (65) Hari (1,100)
Persian Gulf (251,000) Amir Kabir Aras (1,072)
Urmia  (5,200) Latyan Karun (950)
Hamoun (3,820) Sivand  (11) Karkheh (900)
Bakhtegan (3,500) Mulla Sadra Sefid Rud (670)
 Namak (647) Upper Gotvand Zayanderud (400)
 Maharloo (600) Golpayegan Zarrineh (302)

Table 1: Important marine and freshwater resources of Iran and their surface area.

Since 1996, fisheries production statistics have been collected every year by Iran Fisheries Organization. Marine fisheries is divided into two sectors north water (Caspian Sea) and south water fisheries (Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman coast), while for inland aquaculture, Iran is divided into thirty-one provinces.

There has been a recent increase in the fishery production of Iran. Total harvest increased from 474,500 tons in 2004 to 838,892 tons in 2012 (Table 2). In 2014, total fisheries production of Iran peaked at 947,352 tons, with 575,512 tons (60.74%) of the total production were obtained from capture fisheries [2,3]. In 2014, Iran was 20th place in world aquaculture production, 28th place in world fish capture production, and 27th in overall production [4]. After Egypt (1,481,882 tons), Iran (947,354 tons) is the biggest fish producer in the Middle East and western Asia. Turkey (536,516 tons), Oman (211,319 tons) and Yemen (190,000 tons) are other big producers [4]. The percentage contribution of aquaculture production to total harvest increased from 26.26% in 2004 to 39.26% in 2014.

Years Aquaculture Capture fisheries Aquaculture + Capture fisheries
Fresh water Sea Fresh water + sea % Ratio of aquaculture in total production Fresh water Sea Fresh water + sea % Ratio of capture fisheries in total production Total production
2004 115657 8903 124560 26.26 35775 314165 349940 73.74 474500
2005 130603 3577 134180 25.68 44887 343492 388379 74.32 522559
2006 148974 5700 154678 26.88 46435 374447 420882 73.12 575560
2007 191169 2508 193677 34.44 39174 329571 368745 65.56 562422
2008 179275 4372 183647 32.65 36967 341980 378947 67.35 562594
2009 202225 5128 207353 34.58 44279 348122 392401 65.42 599754
2010 245015 6359 251374 37.88 43805 368505 412310 62.12 663684
2011 277325 8026 285351 38.82 37831 411897 449729 61.18 735079
2012 328725 10152 338877 40.4 40314 459701 500015 59.6 838892
2013 358178 12698 370876 41.91 40423 473658 514081 58.09 884957
2014 349365 22475 371840 39.26 39647 535865 575512 60.74 947352

Table 2: Aquaculture and capture fisheries productions (tons/year) obtained from seas and freshwaters in Iran between 2004 and 2014 [2,3].

Although the bulk (about 93%) of capture production (535,865 tons) was obtained from the south, 48% of the aquaculture production came from three provinces; Mazandaran (71,784 tons) and Guilan (46,802 tons) provinces in the north and Khuzestan (60,172 tons) in the southwest [2,3].

A review on the aquaculture development in Iran until 2008 was primarily published by Kalbassi et al. [5]. They mainly reported carp, rainbow trout, sturgeon and marine shrimp aquaculture status in Iran. In addition, in another study, a review on the status of fisheries in Iran was primarily published by Karimpour et al. [6]. They presented and discussed the fishery, aquaculture, importance aquaculture species and aquaculture industry in Iran between 1997 and 2008. On the other hand, no studies have been published on the status of fisheries in Iran in recent years. This review presents and discusses the notable expansion of fisheries and aquaculture in Iran between 2004 and 2014 [7].

Fishery production

Marine fishery: Over 60% of marine fishery products is from Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. The most abundant species were Eleutheronema tetradactylum (fourfinger threadfin), Otolithes ruber (tigertooth croaker), Pampus argenteus (silver pomfret), Scomberomorus commerson (narrow-barred Spanish mackerel), Scomberomorus guttatus (Indo-Pacific king mackerel), Pomadasys kaakan (javelin grunter), Epinephelus coioides (orange-spotted grouper), Thunnus tonggol (longtail tuna), Dussumieria (rainbow sardines), Coryphaena hippurus (mahi-mahi), Acanthopagrus latus (yellowfin seabream) and Cynoglossus arel (largescale tonguesole) [2,3] (Figure 1). There is no notable difference in abundant of each species caught from the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman.

fisheries-and-aquaculture-abundance-caught-fish-types

Figure 1: The most abundance caught fish types in the marine water of Iran between 2004-2014 [2,3].

Regard into marine crustaceans; three shrimp species are caught in the south of Iran. Penaeus indicus (Indian white shrimp), Penaeus merguiensis (banana shrimp) and Penaeus semisulcatus (green tiger shrimp). Annual harvest in 2013 and 2014 was 8,789 and 8,567 tons shrimp were from Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, respectively [3].

Iran’s marine fishery has increased steady in the last decade. It raised to 535,865 tons in 2014 from 314,165 tons in 2004. Although there are no statistics to show exact portion of fish species in Iran’s marine fishery, about 50% of harvest is large pelagic species. In addition, catching of tuna and tuna-like (Auxis rochei, Auxis thazard, Euthynnus affinis, Katsuwonus palamis, Rastrelliger kanagurta, Scomber japonicas, Scomberomorus commerson, Scomberomorus guttatus, Thunnus albacares and Thunnus tonggol ) species is a major component in large pelagic fisheries in Iran [2,3].

After large pelagic fish species, demersal fish species with 32-35% constitute the highest rate in the catch caught from the seas. P. kaakan , O. ruber , C. arel and P. argenteus are the most important demersal fish species [2,3].

Inland fishery: Iran has two major inland basins in the north and south and several smaller basins in center and east. Taking into account the newly described species of cyprinids and loaches, freshwater and brackish water fish of Iran exceed 200 species. Inland waters contain 163 of these species including mainly cyprinids with 87 species, balitorids with 22 species and gobiids with 10 species [8].

The main inland fishing area is the Caspian Sea the largest inland body water in the world with salinity around 12 ppt. In 2014, the total fish catch from the Caspian Sea was 39,647 tons. The most important commercial fish species in the Caspian Sea are divided into three groups; bony fish, Caspian Sea sprat and sturgeon fish species.

The most important commercial bony fish of the Caspian Sea are Rutilus frisii kutum (Caspian kutum), Liza aurata (Golden grey mullet), Liza saliens (Leaping grey mullet), Sander lucioperca (Pikeperch), Cyprinus carpio (European carp), Rutilus rutilus (Roach), species of genus Alosa (Caspian shads), Abramis brama (bream), Chalcalburnus chalcoides (Caspian shamaya) and Vimba vimba (Caspian vimba). Three species of Caspian Sea sprat live in the Caspian Sea: Clupeonella engrauliformis (Anchovy kilka), Clupeonella grimmi (Big eyed kilka) and Clupeonella cultriventris (Common kilka). The Caspian Sea is inhabitant of five species of Sturgeon fish: Huso huso (Great sturgeon), Acipenser gueldenstaedtii (Russian sturgeon), Acipenser persicus (Persian sturgeon), Acipenser stellatus (Stellate sturgeon) and Acipenser nudiventris (Spiny sturgeon) [6]. Annual average catch of these three fish groups between 2004-2014 is given in Figure 2.

fisheries-and-aquaculture-Caspian-Sea-sprat

Figure 2: The amount of captured bony fish, Caspian Sea sprat and sturgeon fish species from the Caspian Sea between 2004-2014 [2,3].

Caspian kutum, grey mullet and European carp are the most important caught fish species of fishermen in the Caspian Sea. Grey mullet is the most abundant species and contributes in 70% of the total bony fish fishery in the Caspian Sea.

Sturgeon fishery: There are 27 sturgeon species living in the seas and rivers of the Northern hemisphere [9]. The maximum sturgeon catch in the world was 32,078 tons in 1977 [10]. Iran is the biggest exporter caviar and sturgeon fish meat in the world. However, sturgeon fisheries reduced in the last two decades. For example, sturgeon fisheries from Iranian waters dropped to 41 tons in 2014 from 500 tons in 2004 [2,3]. Bronzi et al. [10] suggested that variety of reasons contributed to the sturgeon fishery decline:

• River fragmentation and channelization with subsequent changes in hydrology and hydrodynamics.

• Overharvest by legal and illegal fisheries.

• Increasing pollution, from agricultural practices, urban growth and industrial developments.

Aquaculture production

In recent years, there has been a fast increase in the aquaculture production of Iran. It contributed approximately 40% of fisheries production of Iran in 2014 (Table 3).

  2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Common carp 65400 73396 77463 97262 87748 100430 121608 132177 154565 167883 170341
Rainbow trout 30000 34760 46275 58761 62630 73642 91519 106409 131000 143917 126515
Sturgeon - - - - - 363 251 312 456 564 650
Marine shrimp 8903 3577 5700 2508 4372 5128 6359 8026 10152 12698 22475
Narrow-clawed crayfish 27 268 270 258 275 287 298 338 341 263 70
Harvesting from natural water resources 20230 22179 24970 34888 28622 27503 31339 38089 42363 45551 51666
Marine fish in cage - - - - - - - - - - 123
Total 124560 134180 154678 193677 183647 207353 251374 285351 338877 370876 371840
Ornamental fish 30 31 35 54 79 93 107 132 148 186 204

Table 3: Name and quantity (tons) of important aquacultured and ornamental fish (million) products between 2004 and 2014 [2,3].

Aquaculture production in Iran increased about 11.5% per year from 2004 (124,560 tons, 26% of fisheries production) to 2014 (349,365 tons, 40%). This rapid increase was higher than the global average of 8% per year and resulted from production of carp species and rainbow trout (carp culture increased from 54,801 tons in 2002 to 170,341 tons in 2014). This increment was more rapid for rainbow trout. Rainbow trout culture in Iran enhanced from 16,026 tons in 2002 to maximum amount of 143,917 tons in 2013. After Chile, Iran was the biggest rainbow trout producers in the world.

Most aquaculture production in Iran is comprised of freshwater species except for marine shrimp production (about 6% of the total). However, there is also a very small cage culture industry in the south of Iran.

Iranian Fisheries Organization (IFO) divided aquacultured species into six groups 1) cyprinid species, 2) trout species, 3) sturgeon species, 4) marine shrimp species, 5) crayfish (besides it is not cultured) and 6) marine fish species. The most important aquaculture species are listed in Table 4.

No Group of species Species
1 Cyprinid Cyprinus carpio, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, Ctenopharyngodon idella
2 Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss
3 Sturgeon Huso huso, Acipenser baerii, Acipenser persicus, Acipenser ruthenus, Acipenser stellatus
4 Marine shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei, Penaeus merguensis, Penaeus monodon, Fenneropenaeus indicus, Penaeus semisulcatus
5 Crayfish Astacus leptodactylus
6 Marine fish Lates calcarifer, Acanthopagrus latus, Sparidentex hasta, Sparus aurata

Table 4: Important aquaculture species in Iran.

Cobia (Rachycentron canadum ), silver pomfret (Pampus argenteus ), fourfinger threadfin (Eleutheronema tetradactylum ), Asian sea bass (Lates calcarifer ), sobaity seabream (Sparidentex hasta ), grouper (Epinephelus coioides ) and rabbit fish (Siganus canaliculatus ) (11-12) are produced in experimental or pilot scales.

One of the important freshwater crustacean species in Iran is the narrow clawed crayfish (Astacus leptodactylus ). It is the only freshwater crayfish species in Iran. The commercial value of exported A. leptodactylus between 2000 and 2009 varied from 1.5-2.5 million US$ annually [13]. Iranian crayfish production reached to maximum 341 tons at 2012.

Future species: The candidate species for mariculture development include groupers (Serranidae ), cobia (Rachycentron canadum ), silver pomferet (Pampus argenteus ) and fourfinger threadfin (Eleutheronema tetradactylum ) [5]. Also recently, the Caspian salmon, Salmo trutta caspius , has attracted interest for aquaculture in cages and raceways in Iran, with emphasis on using triploid populations to omit problems associated with sexual maturation, which can reduce commercial benefits of salmonid culture, especially beyond the maturation phase [5-14].

There are more than 130 species of seaweed found in the Iranian marine waters. Gracilaria spp ., Sargassum spp . and Eucheuma spp . are some of the commercial seaweed species. Over the past four years several trials have been carried out on the farming of Gracilaria in ponds and the open sea and a pilot project has been initiated to develop commercial seaweed farming. Persian Gulf pearls are wellknown on the international markets, however, due to over fishing, oyster stocks have been reduced dramatically. Iranian Fisheries Research Organization (IFRO) has conducted various research projects for seed production and in 2004 successfully produced seed. Access to seed production technology could lead, in the future, to pearl culture activity [5].

In addition, a recent development occurred in Iran in the culture of two sea cucumber species (Holothuria lecospliota and Holothuria scabra ) and black-lip pearl oyster (Pinctada margaritifera ).

Fish processing industry: IFO has divided fish processing industry into four sections:

• Fish canning factory.

• Fish meal factory.

• Freezer and refrigerator units in shoreline.

• Fish processing unit.

At present, there are 134 fish canning factories, 46 fish meal factories, 122 freezer and refrigerator units in shoreline and 143 fish processing units. Number and production capacity of fishery processing industry of Iran between 2004 and 2014 are presented in Table 5.

  2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Fish canning factory 113 118 127 134 134 134 134 134 134 134 134
458.95 491 543 569 569 569 569 569 569 569 569
Fish meal factory 38 44 44 36 36 36 46 46 46 46 46
960 1100 1100 910 921 921 921 921 921 921 921
Freezer and refrigerator unit 133 126 109 112 113 113 114 114 120 120 122
86.9 101 91 96 116 126 126 126 151 151 159
Fish processing unit 116 119 125 125 129 132 135 135 142 142 143
1891 1940 2038 2038 2067 2135 2179 2179 2255 2255 2266

Table 5: Number (up lines) and production capacity (down lines) of fishery processing industry in Iran between 2004 and 2014 [2,3].

In the last decade, Iranian fishery processing industry increased in all sections except fish meal production. Although the number of fish meal factory increased the fish meal production decreased in recent years. The reason of this decrease is due to the fluctuations in Caspian Sea sprat catch. For example, fish meal production reached to the maximum in 2005 and 2006 when the Caspian Sea sprat catch reached to the maximum.

Exports

Strong infrastructure (such as access to open waters) and high volume product (marine shrimp, marine fish, carp species and rainbow trout) of Iran have caused a continuous increase in fisheries exports. Iran’s exports worth and amount displayed a steady increase in the last decade. The value of aquatic products export in 2014 was more than 300 million US$. The worth of export between 2004 and 2014 is presented in Figure 3.

fisheries-and-aquatic-products-export

Figure 3: Worth (thousand US$) of aquatic products export of Iran between 2004 and 2014 [2,3].

Caviar is one of the most valuable export products of Iran. In 2014, the price of caviar increased 94.1% in comparison to that of 2013. The price of one kg Iranian caviar reached to 1,652 US$ in 2014. In 2015, Iran exported 1,029 kg caviar to Japan, Germany, England, Italy, Belgium, the South Korea, Norway and United Arab Emirates.

Other important product is shrimp. Iran exports shrimp to 40 courtiers in the world. The worth of shrimp exported from Iran in 2014 was more than 56 million US$. Countries in the Southeast Asia, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon and United Arab Emirates are the major export markets for Iranian shrimp. Iran also exports shrimps to some European countries such as Spain, Italy, Norway and Turkey. Fisheries export amount (ton) between 2004 and 2014 is presented in Table 6.

  2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Caviar 38.4 9.1 9.98 6.6 2.3 0.4 4 0.3 0.4 1.2 0.8
Shrimp 7681 1918.7 2986 2289.1 1346.2 3801.1 2602 4141 4904 11585 11610
Fish and other aquatic animals 12610 14856 27312 31102 23028 29633 41894 52673 59096 60219 60182
Total 20329 16784 30308 33398 24376 33435 44500 56814 64000 71805 71793

Table 6: Amount of fisheries export (ton) from Iran between 2004 and 2014 [2,3].

Fish consumption in Iran

In Iran, fish consumption per person was 4.5 kg in 1997. However, fish consumption in Iran has increased from 5.2 kg in 2002 to 9.2 kg in 2014. Global per capita fish consumption has risen to above 20 kg. Although fish consumption is increasing from year to year, on the other hand, fish consumption in Iran is still behind the world average. Fish consumption per capita between 2004 and 2014 in Iran is presented in Table 7.

  2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Fish consumption 6.7 7.03 7.7 7.35 7.32 7.51 8.5 9.1 10.2 8.5 9.2

Table 7: Fish consumption (kg per capita) between 2004 and 2014 in Iran [2,3].

Fisheries and aquaculture facilities

Fish farm numbers and fish farm areas: Fish farm numbers and their areas raised very fast in recent years. For example, fish farm number increased from 4,859 in 2002 to 18,795 in 2014. Fish farm area for cyprinids increased from 25,890.6 hectares in 2004 to 50,853 hectares in 2014 (approximately 96% increment). This increment was 0.4% for rainbow trout farms. Fish farm area for rainbow trout increased from 104.6 hectares in 2004 to 225 hectares in 2014. Number and area of fish farms between 2004 and 2014 are presented in Table 8.

  2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Cyprinid 6084 6319 6863 7261 7923 8362 10527 11968 14295 14615 16254
25891 28332 29836.7 33793 31892 34504 40261 43722 46587 48697 50853
Rainbow trout 662 698 750 1200 1085 1180 1387 1607 1907 1923 1595
104.6 132 111.4 162.6 157 169 230 236.5 258 230 225
Harvesting from natural water resources 220 240 356 307 283 351 332 296 367 412 428
450000 848500 570183 545287 455709 499117 496579 485259 555515 562227 746096
Shrimp 310 298 189 208 219 145 214 209 320 313 518
4272 3641 2625.7 1207 2481 2148 2873 3220 4427 4779 7053
Total 7276 7555 8158 8976 9510 10038 12460 14080 16889 17285 18795
480267 880605 602756 580449 490239 535938 539943 532437 606787 615933 804227

Table 8: Number (up) and area (hectare) of fish farms (down) in Iran between 2004 and 2014 [2,3].

The number of employees in the fisheries sector: Number of employees in the fisheries sector increased as fisheries industry enlarged after 2004. For example, the number of employees in the fisheries sector increased from 144,584 persons in 2002 to 208,472 persons in 2014. Number of employees in the different parts of fisheries sector between 2004 and 2014 are presented in Figure 4. The number of fishermen in the north and south waters did not increase during last decade. In contrast, the number of fish farmers increased dramatically from 16,894 in 2004 to 68,287 in 2014 (approximately 24% increment).

fisheries-and-aquatic-employees-different-parts

Figure 4: Number of employees in the different parts of fisheries sectors in Iran between 2004 and 2014 [2,3].

Number of fishing fleets: The number of fishing fleets (boat, doha dhow, fishing ship) does not show any significant differences between 2004 and 2014. Number of fishing fleets between 2004 and 2014 is presented in Table 9.

    2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Caspian Sea Boat 582 713 1007 980 980 890 827 811 804 865 825
Doha Dhow 152 145 146 135 115 81 73 73 73 73 73
fishing Ship - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 734 858 1,153 1,115 1,095 971 900 884 877 938 898
Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman Boat 7,496 7,563 7,663 7,847 7,970 7,932 7,855 7,689 7,520 7,423 7,385
Doha Dhow 3,210 3,250 3,257 2,999 3,033 3,066 3,087 3,090 3,135 3,151 3,165
Fishing Ship 77 78 47 45 44 47 51 54 54 51 50
Total 10,783 10,891 10,967 10,891 11,047 11,045 10,993 10,833 10,709 10,625 10,600

Table 9: Number of fishing fleets in Iran between 2004 and 2014 [2,3].

Discussion and Conclusion

Iran has a great potential for fisheries and aquaculture production in its both freshwater and marine resources. It seems that potential for mariculture will also significantly enlarge with the completion of the cage aquaculture projects in the north and south of Iran. In addition, Although Iran has the potential to produce 900,000 tons fish in cages according to the Development Strategy Department of IFO the total production from cage aquaculture will increase up to 400,000 tons in 2025. The cage culture potential for Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman are 300,000, 150,000 and 450,000 tons respectively.

Statistics in Iran show that fishery productions between 2004 and 2014 have significantly been developed and freshwater aquaculture has achieved remarkable attention due to high demand for aquatic products because of the fact that fast growing rate of human population and increase in fish consumption of per person in Iran. Therefore, fishery sector is considered as one of the most important promising industries of Iran economy.

However, although the suitable aquatic production in Iran is about 947,352 tons this industry is still far away from the production aims of the Iranian government. There is no statistics available to see the contribution of fisheries in Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of Iran. Nevertheless, the agriculture sector is not an important part of the economy at present; the whole sector (fisheries, agriculture, poultry and animal husbandry) was estimated to contribute 13% of GDP in 2014 in the country.

The most important priorities of IFO to financially support are shrimp farming, fish culture in cages, lantern fish (myctophids) fishery and sturgeon fish farming. For example, Iranian Government has started to support fish farms financially especially for cage culture and sturgeon fish farming.

Conversely, there are difficulties in Iranian fisheries, such as shortage of experts, qualified technical stuff and lack of high technology in cage culture (i,e., importing cages, automatic feeding machinery, water quality monitoring, etc.). Despite to having high potential for doing mariculture in cages, fish cage culture has not developed well and needs future investments and supports. Furthermore, aquaculture in Iran is associated with other problems such as low stocking density large earthen ponds for shrimp farming, lack of technical knowledge among farmers, diseases especially white spot disease in shrimp culture, unsuitable feed quality especially for juvenile diets, improper feeding management, low water quality in some of aquaculture sites, low hatching and survival rate in larval production units, low quality seed production, improper brood stock production especially in shrimp aquaculture industry, financial problem, and low cultural species diversity [5]. Therefore, it can be concluded that although Iran has a good potential to improve fish production it is necessary to overcome above problems.

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