Iran has one of the lowest seafood consumption rates in the world and like other Middle Eastern countries has concerns over food security.
Development of the aquaculture industry and campaigns to change trends are the main courses of action to tackle this issue and increase consumption.
Campaigns aimed at raising awareness of fish as a healthy option and source of protein have already resulted in higher consumption of fish from just 4kg in 2005 to 10kg per capita in 2014. The trend is expected to continue increasing to 18 kg per capita by 2025.
Species currently cultured include:
- Rainbow trout
- Chinese carps
Additionally, aquaculture is seen as a means to improve the welfare of fishers and farmers, promote exports and increase fish production to meet increasing demands.
Brackish and saltwater aquaculture, fish production from cages and ponds, freshwater production from lakes, reservoirs and rivers are all viable methods for aquaculture in Iran. Marine cage culture is especially interesting for culture in the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf.
Based on current trends, Iran fisheries plan to increase total seafood production to 1,879,000 MT by 2025.
Meeting the desired production levels, requires new and updated technologies as well as the associated training and knowhow. Opportunities also lie in feed formulation, research in genetics, assessment of best practices as well as training and knowledge transfer in economically sustainable practices.
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