Please meet ... the Sturgeon!
The sturgeon (family of the Acipenseridae) is one of the oldest living creatures on earth, having survived on our planet practically unchanged for more than 250 million years. Its spindle-shaped body, with its head pulled out to a beak, and the distinctive skin, which is not made of scales but bone platelets, gives it its primeval appearance.
A freshwater fish native to the northern hemisphere, the sturgeon was originally also at home in the Adriatic Sea and in the river Po (both in Italy). However, already in the 18th century the French mathematician and astronomer Jérôme Lalande describes the targeted sturgeon catching in northern Italy, as the fish eggs were already considered a delicacy.
At the end of the 1990s, river strains, water pollution and, above all, illicit trade had greatly depleted the populations of sturgeon in the world due to continued global demand. As a consequence, all sturgeon species were included in the Washington Convention on the protection of species in 1998. Out of a total of 27 sturgeon species, 17 of the World Conservation Union IUCN are on the Red List today as "threatened with extinction". No quotas have been released for wild sturgeons since 2011.
Successful species protection in the aquaculture
The entirety of the world’s traded sturgeon caviar today comes from aquacultures, which are making a significant contribution to the conservation of the entire Acipenseridae family. Essential quality driver of sturgeon caviar from Italian aquaculture: fresh pre-alpine spring water that flows through the rearing facilities and, in contrast to closed water circulation systems, gives the sturgeon living conditions which are almost identical to nature. And you will taste the difference! Sturgeon caviar from Italian aquaculture baffles connoisseurs regularly as its taste is no longer distinguishable from wild caviar.
The guarantor for impeccable enjoyment: the CITES banderole
Legal sturgeon caviar - both wild and farmed caviar - can be recognized by the so-called CITES band, which has to be torn open when the can is opened. Only caviar from species-appropriate sturgeon breeding facilities which furthermore indicate from which sturgeon, when and how the fry was won, receives this seal of quality.