Iran plans to create gene bank to save sole living creature in Lake Urmia
Azerbaijan, Baku, May.12/ Trend F.Karimov/
Iran plans to create a gene bank to save Artemia urmiana, which is the sole living creature in its Lake Urmia, the Mehr News Agency reported.
Recent droughts and extensive evaporation have led to the oversaturation of water in the Lake Urmia and have endangered Artemia urmiana's life.
The ability of the Artemia to produce dormant eggs, known as cysts, has led to extensive use of Artemia in aquaculture. The cysts may be stored for long periods and hatched on demand to provide a convenient form of live feed for larval fish and crustaceans.
The Lake Urmia, in the northwest of Iran, is experiencing its worst condition for the past 50 years, so that over 70 percent of its water has been dried up.
The level of the lake's water has been declining since 1995.
Officials say if the current restoration efforts are not effective, the lake will be turned into a swamp within four years.
In October 2012, Iran's Environment Protection Organization Director Mohammad Javad Mohammadizadeh said during the Iranian calendar year, which ended on March 19, 2012, about 2 billion cubic meters of water were transferred to the lake.
Currently, only a third of the lake is filled with water and the rest is dry.
The Lake Urmia is the third largest salt water lake on earth with a surface area of approximately 5,200 square kilometers.
Experts say construction of dams on rivers feeding the lake and also droughts have significantly decreased the annual amount of water Lake Urmia receives. They also say that the construction of a bridge across the lake has upset its ecological balance.