Water shortages and the subsequent severe increase in water-salt ratios in Lake Urmia water in recent years, has put Artemia, the only living creature in the lake, in danger of destruction. For three years, Artemia had not been seen.
The increasing levels of water in Lake Urmia water have led to the rebirth of Artemia and this creature is once again being seen.
Lake Urmia’s water started to decrease in 1997, reaching its lowest level in 2014 and 2015. This led to an increase in salt levels, and following that, the destruction of life.
The salt intensification of the lake rapidly impacted the life of Artemia, the only living creature there, which was nearly completely wiped out.
After the formation of the Lake Urmia Resuscitation Centre, the lake’s water level has improved by supplying water to the lake through releasing dam-water from drainage basins, dredging the main rivers feeding the lake to prevent spreading, and supplying water to the main body of the lake by joining the two main rivers emptying into the lake. Artemia is now also being seen again.
This shows that with resuscitation of Lake Urmia, Artemia’s life cycle can be completed. Artemia is from the crustacean family, and can live in thick, salt water, while feeding on the lake’s algae.
Artemia itself provides food for birds and sturgeon. It has adapted itself to the salt water and can both lay eggs and give birth to live young if there are no environmental stresses.
Artemia’s eggs are very valuable. Shrimp farmers open these eggs so that shrimp can feed on the newborn Artemia, because shrimps must eat moving food. For this reason, Artemia’s eggs or cysts have a high value worldwide.
Artemia Urmiana (the subspecies in the lake) is one of the world’s seven known types of bisexual Artemia, and has good nutritional value.
Due to Lake Urmia’s critical condition, the number of Artemia has declined from a high of 20-22 cysts of life mass in each litre to 1-2.