Caviar, due to the scarcity of the fish that produce it, was once the preserve of the super-wealthy, but sustainable practices are bringing the luxury food back into plentiful supply, reports ABC 7 news.
Only eggs from sturgeon can be called caviar, but the fish was almost wiped out at the turn of the century as demand for the delicacy soared. Their are approximately 24 species of sturgeon and all of them are on the endangered species list. Consequently, buying caviar from wildly caught sturgeon is now banned in the United States, according to the San Francisco-based ABC affiliate.
But companies such as the California Caviar Company and San Francisco-based Tsar Nicoulai Caviar are using sustainable fish farming practices to produce legal, domestically-made caviar, the station reports.
White sturgeon is native to California, but the development of sturgeon farms has been slow.
“When I started in the industry [about a decade ago] there were six farms around the world producing caviar, only a couple of them processing caviar, today now there’s about 20,” California Caviar Company spokesperson Deborah Keane told ABC 7.
But despite this new-found abundance, customers may still want to check their bank balance before splashing out on the delicacy: Tsar Nicoulai Caviar starts at $90 an ounce, rising to $720 an ounce. The California Caviar Company caviar starts at $35 an ounce and goes to up $80, ABC 7 reports.
A study released in April claimed that more than 40 species of marine fish currently found in the Mediterranean Sea could disappear in the next few years.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature study commercial species, including the Bluefin tuna, are considered threatened or near threatened with extinction at the regional level, mainly due to overfishing.