Need for healthy protein and shortage of water resources in Iran have led to multi-purpose
utilizations of water resources and fish farming industry is considered among them.
Aquatic productions are provided from two sources of fishing and aquaculture. Currently, the
major share of fish consumption is supplied by fishing and demand for fish farming products is
increasing considerably, which can cause value added and business boom.
The Ministry of Agriculture in Iran intends to introduce Aras Free Zone as an export pilot region,
taking into account the capabilities of Aras Free Zone in field of fisheries, using the experience
and state-of-the-art technologies utilized in developed countries, and thus, contributing the share
of East-Azerbaijan and the country in the field of fisheries production.
Aras Free Zone located close to Aras River and its fertile lands, is suitable for industrial farming,
creating large agro-industrial complexes with aim of export to the Caucasian countries and
capital city of Tabriz as a trade center and having industrial capacity consisting of industries
located in East of Azerbaijan for developing productions and market.
Meanwhile, the completion of shipping infrastructure creates a positive effect in developing
commercial and economic exchange with Caucasian countries.
Tourist attractions, mineral materials and huge water resources are the main natural resources in
the region. Besides 20-year tax exemption on legal and real person’s income, free inflow and
outflow of capital, tax exemption on value added and unlimited money transfer rate have made
great potentials for investment and profitable economic activities.
Jolfa-Tabriz railway, that connects Aras Free Zone with independent countries and the common
wealth of independent states, Caucasian countries, Russia, Turkey, Black sea, Europe, Persian
Gulf and Oman in the South, is one of the most important railways in Iran that has a great
influence on development of the country. Moreover, Tabriz-Jolfa railway links Jolfa, Noordooz
and Khoda Afarin with Nakhjavan, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Also Bazargan border road
interlinks Bileh Savar to European and CIS countries.
In addition, construction of Aras Free Zone airport is on the planning stage due to the 120-km
distance between Tabriz international airport to Aras Free Zone and the 35-km distance from
Nakhjavan airport to Aras Free Zone.
Due to the investment in Goordian Desert (1800 acres), Arj Gulf (25100 acres), Khoda Afarin
(more than 70,000 acres) and greenhouses (350 acres) in the last decades, production capacity of
agro products in these regions is about 70,000 tons in a year. However, Aras Free Zone enjoys
multiple transportation (roads, railways, air) and Development plans that will provide the tropical
and subtropical products of the country to the north east countries especially Russia and Europe.
According to great potentials of fisheries in Aras Free Zone, the ministry of agriculture plans to
make this region a hub to export and produce fisheries which will increase East Azerbaijan
market share in fisheries.
Iran's production in the area of fisheries is 1,100,000 tons per year, 58 per cent is caught and the
rest is gained through aquaculture. On the other hand, per capita consumption of fish in Iran is
10.6 kg per year and the world’s average is 20 kg.
According to Iran’s Sixth Development Plan, fish consumption should get close to the world’s
per capita by the year 1404. The majority of the country's need for cold-water fish is supplied
through imports. Due to low water temperature, construction of a fish breeding unit along Aras
River can be an appropriate alternative to supply this need inside the country. On the other hand,
breeding fish in Aras River makes it easier to export fish to neighboring countries.
In addition to the economic benefits, fisheries in rivers have biological advantages as well:
-Fish’s close density to the density of water causes convenient floating and less energy
consumption, thus, aquatic animals use a large portion of their energy for growth in
comparison with other animals and it appears to be considered as an economic advantage
for fish farming.
-Some of the Plankton-eating fish, supply their food from rivers and this causes costs
- Floating environment, availability of rich food with a great deal of salts, and organic food
can supply all energy and food requirements.
Advantages of Investment in Aras Free Zone:
- Inexpensive and proficient workforce
- Inexpensive energy costs
- Inexpensive land
- Exemption from customs duties to import machinery
- Having the advantage of value added law
- 20-year customs duties exemption according to Free Zones Law
Unique Geo-economic location (Silk Road), proximity to European free zones and CIS countries,
Caucasian countries and Russia, access to international markets, transit and re-export of foreign
goods, enhancing appropriate discharge and loading infrastructures based on WTO standards,
and 20-year tax exemption according to free zones law are among advantages of investment in
Aras Free Zone.
Also granting part of the costs for the carriage of goods, discharge and loading, customs
clearance and contract costs, and transit and export of foreign goods have created a very suitable
condition for a variety of economic activities in various fields in Aras Free Zone.
Advantages of Fish Farming Complex Establishment in Aras Free Zone:
1072-km length of Aras River is one of the advantages of Aras Free Zone for aquaculture. This
region has 805 small and large islands, 423 of which belong to Iran. Considering the rich water
sources of Aras Free Zone, this area can be selected as one of the best places to foster fish. Good
market, high demand, and industry development are factors considered as appropriate