Shrimp in Iran
Commercial shrimp farming in Iran started out in 1993 with only 40 ha of farming-area, from which it grew gradually as knowledge, infrastructure, and feed systems improved. The outbreak of white spot disease in 2002 in Chouideh (Khouzestan) and in 2005 in Boushehr caused major economic problems. Shrimp farmers switched from using their native Fenneropenaeus indicus (Indian prawn) to start from scratch with Litopenaeus vannamei (whiteleg shrimp). Recovering from the obstacles in 2005, statistics from the last few years show a significant growth both in production volume and export of Iranian cultured shrimp. Nowadays, the total farming area covers 9,259 ha and produced 32,331 tonnes in 2017. Most of the production is taking place in the southern provinces, and shrimp are produced by around 680 small, family-owned farms. Iran has more to offer in the future, when it comes to cultured shrimp, as production levels are yet to realize their full potential. As there are still some major problems that stand in the way of the industry reaching its full potential, several strategies and action plans have been proposed to improve and increase the production efficiency. Private and public authorities are expecting that cultured shrimp production will reach more than 30,000 MT in the upcoming years, of which about 20,000 MT is estimated to be exported. However, after the United States’ abrogation of the the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and its reinstatement of a broader scope of sanctions, the future of Iranian exports is uncertain.