According to the public relations office of International Sturgeon Research Institute, the Caspian probe research vessel docked at the fishing pier of the Guilan General Directorate of Fisheries in Bandar Anzali. The aim was to use the vessel for research objectives and conducting sturgeon assessment patrols. The launch of this research vessel and the implementation of ongoing projects to assess the aquatic stocks and ecology in the waters of Caspian Sea will greatly help to improve fisheries research and sustainable use of available resources.
It is worth mentioning that according to the proposal of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and based on the approvals of the Caspian Sea Living Resources Commission in recent years, it was decided that the Caspian Sea littoral states should conduct annual research patrols to assess sturgeon stocks. According to the communiqué of Agriculture Organization for regarding the approvals and requirements of the High Commission for Sturgeon Fisheries of Iran, a research patrol of sturgeon stocks should be conducted every year. According to this research patrol, a report on stocks condition and the effects of the suspension if commercial catch should be presented to the international associations administration and fisheries decision makers. In this regard, the International Sturgeon Research Institute, in order to fulfill its obligations from 2003 to 2012, by renting a vessel, conducted marine patrols to assess the stocks. Unfortunately, these patrols were stopped due to the lack of research vessels and required credits. Russia, Kazakhstan and the Republic of Azerbaijan, meanwhile, have several vessels annually assessing sturgeon stocks in their waters and submitting their reports to the Caspian Sea Living Resources Commission. In 2018, after a 6-year break, with the support of the head of the Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO) and renting vessels, the Institute conducted research patrols to assess stocks under 10 meters’ depth in Iranian shores of Caspian Sea in the winter of 2018. The International Sturgeon Research Institute has put the construction of a research vessel called “Caspian Prober” with the capability of sailing in shallow water on its agenda to perform its governmental tasks assigned to provincial and national funds. This vessel is docked at the fishery pier of Gilan province in Anzali port, after being equipped and setting required necessary standards. The specifications of this research vessel are as follows:
Length: 6/18 meters, width: 5 meters, height: 2/3 meters, engine power: 380 hp, very low water intake: 4/1 meters, with laboratory space, with trawl and Black Sea sprat separately sampling winch, a sediment and water sampling winch, navigation equipment including Eco-sounder, GPS.
The Caspian Prober is ready to conduct naval missions and cooperate with other centers to conduct marine studies such as the National Oceanographic Center, the Caspian Sea Research Center, the Meteorological Department, academic studies and hydrological and hydro-biological studies in the form of research contracts.