Ending of sanctions boosts Iran’s shrimp export ambitions

Iran’s shrimp industry will get a big boost from lifted sanctions coming as a result of the country’s improving relations with the United States and European Union.

Iran has a significant shrimp industry, according to Mohammad H. Mofatteh, managing director of Sonz Gmbh, an exporter of Iranian shrimp.
Many farms that closed during the years of sanctions (which made processing payments particularly difficult for Iranian banks) are now resuming operations, according to Mofatteh. As Iran recovers from the damage caused by the sanctions, its shrimp production will improve, said Mofattah, who, like many Iranian businessmen, operates out of a German-based office to get around the impact of sanctions. 

“There is much seafood tradition because Iran has a long coastline and had a large wild shrimp catch, but in recent years there’s been a large expansion of the farmed vannemei sector,” Mofatteh told Seafoodsource.

Iranian shrimp offers a good balance of price and quality, Mofatteh said, offering shrimp that are antibiotics-free and more competitive prices, as the country is able to pay more competitive wages than the neighbouring Gulf states due to its larger population.

China accounts for 90 percent of Sonz’s annual exports but the company also has customers in Russia and Spain. Sonz is seeking more customers in the E.U. because prices are stronger than those from China, said Mofatteh. China, the top market for Sonz shrimp, is a political ally of Iran and Mofatteh expects Chinese demand for Iranian shrimp to continue to grow.

In order for the Iranian shrimp industry to continue to grow to its full potential, however more government support will be required, Mofatteh said. A government support system needs to be put in place to guard the sector in the event of a disease outbreak. And Mofatteh said he would like to see his country’s government talk to E.U. states about reducing import tariffs on Iranian shrimp.

“These are higher than rates for Ecuadorian shrimp,” he explained.

In the meantime, Sonz and other Iranian shrimp companies can take steps on their own to improve their business. Sonz soon hopes to expand its business by setting up a company facility for breading. And overall, Iranian producers will also have to secure certifications and make more of an effort in marketing the country’s shrimp and other seafood products, Mofatteh said.


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