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Iranian firm leaps into shrimp farming sector

Company also eyes entry into bream production, top executive told IntraFish.

Iranian vannamei shrimp processor Mah Protein is expanding into post-larvae production to supply the local markets after entering a supply partnership with shrimp farmers in the region. Under the new deal, the company will supply partner farms with shrimp post-larvae produced at its hatcheries from Ecuadorian broodstock imported into the country by the Iran's Ministry of Fisheries.

The move is part of the company's plans to move into shrimp farming in the future, Managing Director Ali A. Mahdi told IntraFish.

Mah Protein had a turnover of $50 million (€44.7 million) last year, and it expects a 15 percent growth with the new business this year.

The family-owned aquaculture group invested in 250 hectares for the first phase of the partnership, and expects to eventually have 1,500 hectares worth of farms to start its own vannamei shrimp production in the future.

Mah Protein also wants to expand operations to enter into similar ventures with Asian seabream and seabass farmers, as well as sea-cage farming in the Persian Gulf, Mahdi said.

The company currently operates two EU, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) approved processing facilities in Bushehr and Tehran.

One factory -- with a daily freezing capacity of 50 metric tons and cold storage capacity of 3,500 metric tons -- reprocesses vannemei shrimp into various forms such as head-on, headless, peeled, deveined, as well as peeled and tail-on.

The second factory in Tehran traditionally processes imported frozen fish for local retail stores and hypermarkets such as Carrefour. The factory dispatches fresh chilled farmed fished such as rainbow trout, barramundi, and sea bream for export to markets in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Iranian shrimp farming production is currently at 35,000 metric tons annually.

The director said most of the vannamei production is exported to European, Chinese and Middle East makets and only part of it is consumed locally.

Mah Protein imports raw material for reprocessing and retail packaging distribution from China, India, New Zealand and Norway among others.

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