Global caviar trade banned

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The International trade in caviar and other products made from endangered sturgeon has been banned.

The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) today announced that it would not be publishing export quotas for sturgeon products, including caviar, until exporting countries provided them with more details on the sustainability of the sturgeon they were catching.

CITES has members in 169 countries and each one is supposed to meet strict criteria if it wants to export sturgeon products.

If different countries want to share stocks they need to agree quotas between themselves based on scientific surveys of sturgeon stocks, and adopt a strategy to help conserve the endangered fishes.

However, new evidence has shown that sturgeon species have been in decline on the countries bordering the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, lower Danube River, and the Heilongjiang and Amur River.

CITESCITES Secretary General Willem Wijnstekers said: "Countries wishing to export sturgeon products from shared stocks must demonstrate that their proposed catch and export quotas reflect current population trends and are sustainable.

"To do this they must also make full allowance for the amount of fish caught illegally".

"The CITES regime for international trade in caviar and other sturgeon products is robust and comprehensive.

"It is strong enough to ensure that the trade in sturgeon products is sustainable " but only if its rules are fully applied. Governments need to fully implement the measures that they have agreed to ensure that the exploitation of sturgeon stocks is commercially and environmentally sustainable over the long term."

The trade in aquacultured sturgeon, which isn't covered by CITES legislation, is unaffected.