Mazandaran Province caviar production up 30%

Valiollah Mohammadzadeh, director general of Mazandaran Fisheries Organization, told Iran Daily that Mazandaran produces more than 50 percent of Iran’s caviar, noting, “Production of sturgeon fish and caviar in the province this year has been increased by 20 to 30 percent.”

He added that 2,000 tons of sturgeon fish and more than 2,500 kilograms of caviar are expected to be farmed in Mazandaran this year.

Pointing to the decreasing sturgeon fish stock and the restrictions on fishing in the Caspian Sea in the past decade, the official noted that sturgeon fish farming has seen a significant growth to become the main source of caviar harvest.

Mohammadzadeh said Mazandaran is the leading province in caviar production, both through fish farming in freshwater and in fisheries near the Caspian Sea.

“Inland fisheries account for 90 percent of sturgeon fish farming while only 10 percent is done in freshwater fisheries,” he added.

The official said fish farmers prefer to farm sturgeons in fisheries where the water can be easily supplied from the sea. He added that sturgeon and caviar harvest farmed in such fisheries are of better quality than those farmed in freshwater.

Mohammadzadeh said there are currently 18 sturgeon fish farms in Mazandaran, with seven additional farms to be constructed by the yearend.

He described sturgeon fish farming as economically viable, saying those investing in the field can expect suitable financial gains.

Mohammadzadeh said that the quality of farmed caviar is no different from those in the wild, adding that Iran has the permit to export farmed caviar to the European Union.

“Each kilo of caviar in European Union member states is sold at $1,000, with prices going up to $1,500 on special occasions like Easter or Christmas,” he said.

Pointing to the popularity and quality of Iranian caviar, he added that caviar all over the world is synonymous with Iran.

“On average, Iranian caviar is 10 percent more expensive than other caviars.”

Germany, France and Italy are among the buyers of Iranian caviar, he said.