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"Aquaculture, not the Internet, represents the most promising investment opportunity of the 21st Century."

- Peter Drucker, Management Expert & Economist


Hallvard Muri, CEO of AKVA, has great expectations for business in Iran

The government of Iran is targeting an increase in aquaculture production to 200,000 metric tons by 2020, which Norway's AKVA group is looking to benefit from.

Targeting 200,000t of production of new species by 2020 might be ambitious and possibly even a "tall order", said Hallvard Muri, CEO of AKVA, but it shows the "direction of progress and intent" from Iran is clear.

Around two-thirds of the farming will take place in the Persian Gulf, mainly for barramundi and seabream, with the rest focused on trout, in the Caspian Sea, said Muri.

AKVA is opening up an office in Iran and has orders for cage farms and land-based facilities.

According to Muri, speaking at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum, Iran could generate NOK 1.5 billion-2bn ($175 million-$233m) in orders of cage technology for AKVA alone.

Iran is looking at land-based facilities to become self sufficient on juveniles, said Muri, which will open up more demand for land-based facilities from AKVA.

AKVA is, in fact, about to finish one land-based facility, said Muri.

The Norwegian firm is also looking to work with yards in Iran for building barges, to "bring new activity" to the country, which the government is also in support of, he said.

Also, the country has a license system along the same lines as the approach used in Norway, as well as "attractive" financing for aquaculture projects.

Iran also has "good water resources" and a similar coastline to Norway, of around 2,500 kilometers. It also has higher water temperatures than the Mediterranean, which is good for fish growth, said Muri.

Office in Spain

AKVA has also recently opened an office in Spain, with Muri bullish on the development in the Mediterranean seabass and bream sector.

"We see the industry is recovering. Turkey is leading the professionalization of the industry and adapting the salmon model," he said.

AKVA is looking at moving into Greece and also eyeing developments in farming in Tunisia and Croatia, he said.

According to data presented by Muri, bass and bream production in the Mediterranean is on track to hit 265,000t in 2019, which would be an increase of 26% on 2016.

Hallvard Muri, new CEO of AKVA group

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