26 Dec 2022 16:34

Caspian littoral states prolong until 2023 moratorium on sturgeon fishing - Rosrybolovstvo

MOSCOW. Dec 26 (Interfax) - Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran at a recent meeting of the commission on the preservation and rational use of aquatic bioresources and management of their joint resources of the Caspian Sea decided to prolong in 2023 the ban on commercial sturgeon fishing, the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency (Rosrybolovstvo) said.

Sturgeon fishing, as before, will be possible only for research purposes and for artificial reproduction.

The commission on the preservation and rational use of the aquatic bioresources of the Caspian Sea and management of their joint resources was created in accordance with an agreement signed in Astrakhan in September 2014 by representatives of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan. The document was ratified by all member countries and took effect in spring 2016. The agreement allows the commission to make decisions that are binding to all member states. The first session of the commission took place in Baku in late November 2017.

The purpose of the commission is to coordinate the work to preserve, reproduce, and rational use of joint aquatic bioresources, to establish permissible catch volumes annually and to distribute national quotas. The commission also has the powers to regulate fishing and preserve joint aquatic bioresources based on restrictions that may include a ban on fishing in certain areas and on certain types of resources for specific periods.

Russia banned industrial fishing of great sturgeon in the Volga and Caspian basin in 2000, and the fishing of sturgeon and starry sturgeon was banned in 2005. A moratorium on industrial sturgeon fishing is in place in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkmenistan.

The Caspian Sea is the richest body of water in the world in terms of the number and species variety of sturgeons. The maximal sturgeon catch in the Caspian Sea, 39,400 tonnes, was recorded in the early 20th century, and 27,400 tonnes was fished in the late 1970s. The number of sturgeons started decreasing sharply in 1991.