“When the Soviet Union collapsed, so did the U.S.S.R.’s tight regulation of beluga caviar, leading to overfishing and a black market trade. Eventually, the species became so endangered that the US banned import of the delicacy“– Paul Ebeling
There are 29 species that make up the Acipenseridae family, due to the gradual evolution of these fish over the past million yrs.
And the earliest sturgeon fossils date back to the Middle Jurassic era, so is no surprise that caviar sourced from beluga fish, which are a particularly rare species of sturgeon, is very expensive and hard to come by.
While caviar is most often sourced from the frigid waters of the Caspian Sea, there is only one place to legally purchase beluga caviar in the US, that is in Bascome, Florida.
Sturgeon AquaFarms, located in northern Florida along the borders of Alabama and Georgia, was founded by Mark Zaslavsky and Mark Gelman in Y 2001 with the mission of protecting and preserving endangered sturgeon species.
After the US banned the import of all beluga products in Y 2005, due to concern over the species’ extinction, Sturgeon AquaFarms became the only legal supplier of beluga caviar and meat in the country, because they breed all of their sturgeon on-site from a handful of fish that were brought over from the Caspian Sea via a 13 trans-Atlantic flights before the ban was implemented.
As of 15 June 2016, the company earned its right as the only US-based provider of beluga sturgeon caviar, approved for interstate sale, but the owners have had to meet several conditions, 1 of which is aiding in restoration of the suffering wild beluga population.
The company’s sustainably built facility sits upon an aquifer, which provides the fish with drinking-grade water to live in the same water that Floridians drink.
Beluga caviar different from other types of sturgeon caviar. The fish is known historically as 1 of the largest fresh-water fish found in the wild, having reached weights of more than 3,000 lbs.
Beluga roe (eggs) is large compared to other types of caviar, and has a distinct, pale grey or black color. As with all caviar, the flavor varies from fish to fish, but beluga caviar tends to taste buttery, slightly briny or nutty, and is very smooth.
Today, enjoying caviar from this ancient fish is expensive. The legal caviar sold exclusively online and at Sturgeon AquaFarms Marky’s stores in New York and Miami for $843oz or $11,500lb.
I celebrated a milestone birthday with a few kilos of beluga caviar
In addition to beluga caviar, Sturgeon AquaFarms sells products like fresh meat and fertilized eggs from Sevruga, Sterlet Russian Osetra, and Siberian sturgeons too.
The big threat to wild sturgeon is poaching and illegal distribution of sturgeon meat and caviar. That is why conservationists work tirelessly to restore this indigenous species back to a functional, self-sustaining population by ensuring that beluga return safely to their natural habitat.
In June 2020 more than 7,000 beluga sturgeon were released into the Danube River, the only river in the EU with naturally reproducing wild sturgeon populations. As they enter the river each sturgeon is tagged so that the WWF and its scientific partners can track and study the behavior and migration patterns of the young sturgeon as they make their was back to the Black Sea.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively