November 12, 2010
I recommend to read this sad story about the fading away of many coastal regions around the Caspian Sea.
After the sturgeons are gone, the humans will too…Fair enough?
August 6, 2010
For the ones working in the caviar industry, that’s of course old news. On July, 23rd CITES published the new export quotas for caviar coming from the Caspian Sea. This is big. After the 5 bordering sea states didn’t come to an agreement over export quotas in 2006 and in 2009, which led to an export ban for these two years, this time they came to a consensus.
A total of 81 tons of black caviar will be allowed to enter the international market. 3 tons of the highest prized beluga, 17 tons of sevruga and 61 tons of oscietra. In comparison to 2008, this means only a reduction of 5 tons in total (or 6%).
This decision might generate some shaking heads, as the rapidly declining sturgeon wild stock in the Caspian Sea isn’t exactly ‘in line’ with this decision. Furthermore I’ve to add, that even if these new export quotas (related to the fishing season from March 2010 until February 2011) show a tendency downwards regarding the amount of caviar, it is nothing but a silly move. Natural wild life protection is something else.
I understand, that there has to be a business ($) in order to protect it. Imagining a 10-year export ban? It would lead to a prosperous poaching, exceeding todays reality. But thinking about corruption and short-sighted greedy interests I can’t see nothing good in this. At least not for the highly sought after females. This decisions means in other words: As we are not capable to fight against poaching and corruption significantly, so let’s at least earn some money over the last sturgeons there are and make sure it ends in our pockets.
I share the opinion with Ellen Pikitch, executive director of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University, saying: “It’s ludicrous to allow any fishing. The quotas should all have been zero for all of these species.”
My guess is, there won’t be enough wild stock to reach the maximum quotas in the first place. My hope is, that consumers got used to high premium farmed caviar and give these wild fossils a break. A long one! But than again: the biggest margins lie in wild caviar. No need to comment…
Hopefully one day CITES changes from a solely regulating authority to a controlling one. Will this come too late?
June 28, 2010
(Click here to read the first part)
Back in April I wrote a post about a mere rumour, that the Caspian Sea border states are planning to ban sturgeon fishing for the duration of ten years. This proposal is to be seen under the fact, that all five border states in 2006 and 2009 failed to agree on export quotas in order to conserve the already fast dwindling sturgeon stocks. This agreement must be based on scientific facts and surveys complying with the policy in protecting remaining stocks. Since over a ear and a half there is an export ban on all black caviar from the Caspian Sea.
(Of course this doesn’t mean one can’t find any wild caviar these days. There is. But the delicacy has to be smuggled or two and a half years old…Either way, no reassuring reasons to spend your money as it could be a label fraud, rotten goods or an unintended act of supporting a crime organization.)
The possible future ban on sturgeon fishing was earlier mentioned to endure ten year, then only five. And now it seems that the bar was raised up to fifteen years. But with the slow maturation rate of the sturgeons in mind (the females take up to fifteen years to reach fertility) this would mean – at best – to maintain the current stocks instead of populating growth.
A fifteen years ban? For some a bold attempt. For most simply not good enough. Triple the years and the sturgeons in the Caspian Sea could maybe have a bright future.
But even if such a ban could come into existence, it would not solve the problem of lack of control and corruption (the Caspian Sea is a very vast place!) and the high risk of pollution that comes with oil drilling. And all three put the sturgeon where he is today: on the edge of the abyss.
For all wild caviar lovers who want to ease mind & palate, head for premium farmed caviar.
Read original article.
June 24, 2010
In the aftermath of the current disaster taking place in the Gulf of Mexico one might ask what would be the scale of event if something similar happened in the Caspian Sea? The worlds biggest inland body of water and home of aprox. 80% of the worlds sturgeon populations?
The outcome would of course be nothing else then catastrophic. But one doesn’t need to go so far. Even today we know for a fact, that the natural ressources of the Caspian Sea is under heavy bombardment. The combination of poaching, overfishing, lack of control, corruption, oil and gas pullution, wastewater sewers, hidroelectric power plants, etc. lead to a worse then hideous picture. Its pure shame.
The stories about high toxic metals such as arsenic, mercury and copper around the coastline of the Caspian Sea, harming not only the soon to be extinct sturgeons and seals, but even more importantly the health of its coastal human population, speak in a crystal clear manner: The era of wild caviar is over. Full stop.
The future is premium farmed caviar. The future is ZwyerCaviar.
Related articles at:
April 28, 2010
Good news are scarce. Especially when it comes to ‘sturgeon’. One very good reason to spread this one. The Greate Lakes’ lake sturgeon is coming back to live. It’s stock is getting bigger and bigger. That’s not due to a natural phenomenon but thanks to the strict spearing limits, poaching laws, restocking efforts and the well-protected spring spawning.
October 13, 2009
Could 2009 become the year when farmed caviar gets wide acceptance as being actually better then wild caviar from the Caspian Sea? It just might. Foodies around the globe keep repeating increasingly the same story: forget the good old, go for the better new!
The other day I found a very interesting read about the ‘caviar in crisis’ (meaning the absence of wild caviar on the market) on the Newsweek website that I want to share with you.
Click here to read the story!
July 29, 2009
According to an article appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on July, 19th, it seems that the Lake sturgeon might prepare its comeback. In just one day fishers in the Lake Erie basin caught 2 beauties after they vanished from any fishing nets and rods for the last 2-3 years. That is “notable” indeed, as Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Chuck Murray put it.
“Let’s put it this way, I’ve never brought one onto our boats since I’ve been with the commission, and that’s 17 years.”
It would be plain great if all of the indigenious ‘US sturgeon’ species, like the Atlantic sturgeon, the Short-nosed sturgeon and the Lake sturgeon – after being virtually wiped out within 20 years – would find their old habitat just that again: habitable.
Lets keep fingers crossed – and those waters clean!
July 3, 2009
Romania banned commercial sturgeon fishing in the Danube River basin some time back. Now, both nations are heading even further and started to finance a project in the Danube River which aims at multiple dimensions.
One of the main goals for this project is trying to understand the trails and routes of the Beluga (Huso Huso). Because of the fact, that the river was heavily dredged in order to clear space for the big cargo vessels and on the shores were built many hydroelectric power plants, the sturgeon populations lost half of their spawning grounds. So, obviously one wonders how they behave and maybe even adapt to the more difficult living conditions. Besides their remaining spawning grounds, especially the question of how they migrate to and from the Black Sea is of big interest.
Furthermore the scientists behind Carolyn Knight and Trond Rosten aim to analyse the regional socialeconomical impact regarding the fishing ban of sturgeons. Fishermen and local societies are under stress aswell. One might forget that easely when trying to safe sturgeons from extinction…
And last but not least, the project looks for ways to build a sustainable tourism based on informing the public about the living conditions of sturgeons, and their right to live. One way of doing so could be an aquaculture farm. Fishfarming is the best alternative their is for not overfishing the seas and rivers of this planet we call earth.
June 30, 2009
A few months back I posted an article about the sturgeon breeding programm at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Lab. Now I found this website, where anybody is invited to contribute with his/her ‘pocket money’ and therefor help to assure the continuation of this important repopulation programm.
It’s another interesting strategy for fundraising. In my humble opinion maybe better then sacrificing their females by harvesting their roe and selling the caviar on the market to generate some incoming money (like the Mote Marine Lab).
Congrats, Dr. Lazur & Team!
June 29, 2009
The reasons why sturgeons are heading into their extinction are clear and well known. Today it’s a common sense, that due to overfishing and poaching, these fossils became hunted in a perverse way. But even more than these direct hostile actions against the sturgeons, the indirect collateral damages due to the expansion of ‘civilization’ delivers the killing stroke for these 250Mio years old creatures. The cities drainage pipes destroy spawning grounds and the hidroelectric power plants and dams block the sturgeons gateway to evolution (spawning upstream).
The waste, polluting the Caspian Sea include increasingly many high toxic metals, such as Arsenic (mostly Iranian and Azerbaijan coastal region), Mercury (region near Baku) and Copper (Iranian and Azerbaijan coastal region). See more on the image below.
Anyone who finds interest in getting a closer look into the Caspian Sea, I recommend the website from the Caspian Environment Programm for a deeper understanding.
And anyone who arrived by now in the 3rd millenium – thinking about sustainability and the protection of our natural ressources, without having to sacrifice quality and premium indulgences – checks in at zwyercaviar.com