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Black Caviar: Certified for Export
February 8, 2008 14:55

Effective breeding population of sturgeons is on the verge of extinction. The environmentalists of the whole world are raising an alarm and urge people to refuse black caviar willingly. However, the United Nations Organization believes there is no need to dramatize, and has lifted the 12 months’ moratorium on beluga caviar export from the Caspian countries, which means Russia has regained its right to supply the over expensive delicacy abroad.

2006 was the last year when Russia could export black caviar. At this in 2003 fishing sturgeons was banned but for scientific purposes. Today the country produces only 9 tons of the delicious product per year legally to cash on the domestic market. All the caviar comes from defective sturgeons unsuitable for researches, or is artificially produced at fish processing plants.

Last year the secretariat of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora banned Caspian countries including Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan from exporting beluga caviar. The moratorium was lifted as soon as the Caspian countries agreed to reduce the global sturgeon fishing quotas from for 1071 tons in 2007 to 1061 tons in 2008. The decline in production rate was recorded thanks to Iran, the world’s biggest black caviar supplier. Thus, the fishing quotas for Azerbaijan (90 tons), Kazakhstan (182.5 tons), Turkmenistan (62 tons) and Russia (286.5 tons) remained the same.

The liberalization of export raised a storm of indignation among environmentalists. They claim it is reckless conduct, since the effective breeding population of sturgeons has shrunk by over 90% for the past years. Therefore, the decision of the UN has sentenced sturgeons to death.

The World Wildlife Fund urged the Russian authorities to impose a ban on black caviar export for 5 years.

The size of sturgeon fishing quotas depends on fish processing plants demands and scientific purposes, but the size of export quotas is based on nothing and can be easily cut, if we want to save endangered species such as the sturgeon. The representative of the State Fishery Committee of the RF said that no export quotas had been distributed among the manufacturers last year. It is vital to restore the population of sturgeons considerably shortened by poachers. Besides, the authorities plan to introduce a state monopoly on sturgeons in order to fight illegal fish production.

The size of export quotas for black caviar was set by the Commission on biological Resources of the Caspian Sea and made up 24.2 tons for Russia, 13.3 tons for Kazakhstan, 5 tons for Turkmenistan, 42.2 tons for Iran and 6.7 tons for Azerbaijan. The figures have been sent for consideration to the secretariat of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.



Olga Pletneva

Tags: Caviar Russian cuisine Russian trade   

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