The Zoology Institute of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS) is conducting research in an effort to expand the stocks of sturgeon fish breeds and drive development of technologies for accelerated production of commodity sturgeons in artificial conditions.
According to ANAS, the scientists plan to receive 2-3 kilograms of sturgeons from 10-gram young Caspian sturgeon fish over a period of two years.
"The success of these researches will allow fish breeding farms to produce 15-20 tons of sturgeon fish annually," ANAS said.
The researches are financed by the Science Development Fund under the President of Azerbaijan. The fund has allocated 50,000 manats (over $63,000) for the development of a concept of the research on intensive growing of sturgeons and freshwater shrimp in captivity.
The financing of the project is expected to reach 1.5 million manats in 2014.
It is also planned to hold an international conference on reproduction of sturgeons as part of the researches.
There are about 141 fish species registered in the resource-rich Caspian Sea, which is shared by Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan and Iran, and 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 the Caspian Sea.
According to the Iranian international scientific research institute, sturgeon fish stock, which is characteristic only for the Caspian Sea, has shrunk by 25-30 percent and if the situation does not change the population of sturgeons will perish in 2021.
In 2010, the presidents of the Caspian littoral states inked an agreement to stop fishing sturgeon in the sea for a period of five years.
Sturgeon fishing in the Caspian was allowed only for scientific research purposes in 2012. The decision was passed at a meeting of the water and biological resources commission held with the participation of representatives from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan and Iran.
In July, Head of Russia's Federal Fisheries Agency Andrei Krayniy told reporters that a ban on sturgeon fishing in the Caspian Sea could be introduced in a few months after a planned meeting of the Caspian states the agenda of which includes this issue.
Russia has not carried out fishing of sturgeons in the Caspian Sea for several years.
A meeting of the commission on bio-resources of the Caspian was held in Baku in April to discuss a wide range of issues including sturgeon fishing and national fishing quotas. The meeting had been purposed to coordinate cooperation for the effective use of biological resources of the basin.