Caspian countries extend sturgeon moratorium

Caspian countries extend sturgeon moratorium Nations with Caspian Sea coastlines have agreed to prolong the current moratorium on commercial fishing for sturgeon. Photo: Federal Agency for Fisheries

Nations bordering the Caspian Sea have agreed to extend the moratorium on commercial fishing for sturgeon, agreed at the Commission for the Conservation, Sustainable Use of Marine Resources and Management of Joint Stocks, held in Baku.

The meeting was attended by representatives of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan.

The parties determined the format of scientific interaction between the Caspian countries. Emphasis is placed on the implementation of projects of the Scientific and Technical Cooperation Programme in molecular-genetic tagging of sturgeon at fish hatcheries, as well as the Caspian trawl-acoustic sturgeon survey.

The Russian side presented research on various options for restoring sturgeon fish populations using the example of stellate sturgeon. Modelling the development of reserves under different conditions showed that under the most optimistic scenario, their recovery requires at least 13 years. This is about the level when it will be possible to resume fishing. In this regard, the Russian side proposed to consider the possibility of establishing a long-term moratorium on commercial sturgeon fishing.

It is proposed to develop a joint program for the Caspian states to restore sturgeon stocks, which would include measures to improve the efficiency of artificial reproduction and improve the habitat, measures to eradicate poaching, as well as full-scale scientific research on a regular basis. The Caspian states generally supported the approach proposed by the Russian side.

The next session of the Commission will be held in the Islamic Republic of Iran later this year.

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