Published: Wednesday 31 May 1995

The endangered Caspian Sea may just get a new lease of life: 5 countries ringing the sea - Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iran - have jointly decided to draw up an environmental action plan to protect the waterbody from pollution, oil projects and illegal fishing.

The major threat to the Caspian Sea is the flow of industrial waste from large rivers like the Volga and the Ural. Other worries for the Caspian countries are the possible effects of numerous offshore projects to exploit the sea's oil reserves. Besides, illegal fishing has played havoc with the sturgeon, which pro- duces the caviar the area is famous for.

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