0432 GMT February 18, 2018
According to Fars News Agency, Deputy Minister of Agricultural and Head of Iran Fisheries Organization Hassan Salehi said, "In the Iranian year to March 20, 2017, Iran took a major step in the fisheries sector by producing nearly 1.1 million tons of aquatics."
Salehi reiterated that of the overall output, 54 percent were obtained from the sea while the remaining 46 percent were from fish farms. Thus, the country managed to rank first in the world in fish production, he noted.
The official said that the country gained a good position in the industry last year by exporting 120,000 tons of fishery products earning $412 million.
"Over 400 processing centers are currently operational in various fishery sectors such as canning, powder production and packaging giving way to the creation of 220,000 direct jobs," Salehi added.
He underlined that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) had played an important role in the Iranian fishery industry, and said, "Russia restricted imports from Europe and the US in retaliation for their sanctions creating an invaluable market for Iranian products."
The official reiterated that Iran still needs to work on establishing proper infrastructure to meet the demands of foreign buyers such as Russia, and said, "Today Russians are placing demand for 100,000 tons of Iranian fishery products, shrimp in particular."
He underscored that Iran has a low per capita consumption of fish which is about 10 kilograms while the global average stands at 20kg. "In a bid to boost people's health, the current per capita consumption needs to rise."
In relevant remarks in mid-February, Norwegian Fishery Minister Per Sandberg in a meeting with Iran's Ambassador Mohammad Hassan Habibollahzadeh welcomed the expansion of Tehran-Oslo cooperation in fish farming and related fields.
"My visit to Iran in October was positive and I assessed Iran as country with great capacities in the field of fishery for broadening of relations," Sandberg said during the meeting in the Norwegian capital.
The Norwegian minister pointed to the extension of financial credit by the Norwegian credit institutes as an appropriate opportunity for fishery companies of Norway to implement joint venture projects with Iranian companies.
Habibollahzadeh pointed to a great joint venture in fish farming area in Iran's Sixth Development Plan (2107-2022), and said, "Tehran is ready to develop cooperation with Norway in the field of fishery and aqua culture."
The Iranian envoy pointed to vast coastlines in northern and southern parts of Iran, and said, "Joint venture for manufacturing special equipment for fish farming and conducting related research are among the grounds for cooperation."