Caspian states ban sturgeon fishing in 2014
By Nigar Orujova
Caspian littoral states will not carry out any industrial or commercial sturgeon fishing in the sea in 2014.
Caspian Sea states include Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Iran.
The decision was made as a result of the 34th meeting of the Commission on Aquatic Bio resources of the Caspian Sea with participation of delegations from the mentioned five countries.
The event was held in Astrakhan on December 23-25.
Last year, a domestic prohibition was made in each country keeping only the minimum amount of the sturgeon fishing for breeding and reintroduction. This year's decision is a significant step towards the implementation of the agreements for a moratorium on sturgeon fishing in the Caspian Sea.
Discussion of the draft agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources of the Caspian Sea was the key issue of the meeting.
The sides exchanged views on the conceptual issues of this project, including the structure of the Commission on Aquatic Bio resources of the Caspian Sea, fisheries management, and mechanism of sturgeon fishing moratorium.
The delegations, included representatives of fisheries management bodies, ministries of natural resources and foreign affairs, also exchanged information on the development of marine fish catching quotas, reproduction and protection of fish stocks by the end of 2013.
They also provided information on the status of aquatic bio resources stocks based on the results of scientific research.
The meeting also defined the procedure for further work with the project. The document will be prepared to be signed by the heads of Caspian states on the fourth Caspian Summit, which is expected to take place in Astrakhan in the second half of 2014.
The next meeting to discuss the draft agreement is expected to be held in the first quarter of 2014.
The main fishery in the region, the sturgeon fishery, is operated only with the Caspian's resources. Some 90 percent of the popular black and red caviar sold all over the world comes from this region.
However, there has been a tenfold decrease in the number of sprats and sturgeons in the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan may create an experimental farm for the cultivation of sturgeon fish at the country in near future.