Caviar’s Alternative Harvesting Methods

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Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar markets three types of caviar, one from the wild Acadian sturgeon, and two types — green and gold — from its farmed shortnose sturgeon. Nancy Matsumoto for NPR

Thanks to Nancy Matsumoto and the folks at the salt, over at National Public Radio (USA):

To Help Keep Sturgeon Sustainable, Farm And Fishery Work Together

It’s the end of only the first week of the official Atlantic sturgeon fishing season on the St. John River in New Brunswick, Canada. But the two fishermen who supply Cornel Ceapa’s Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar company have already landed close to half of the season’s catch.

This seems impressive, until you learn that the total quota for the river — the last legal wild caviar sturgeon fishery in the world — is only 350 fish per year: 175 males and 175 females. By comparison, on this same river, between 1880, when the fishery opened, and 1886, about 712 metric tons of sturgeon were harvested before it was closed for 10 years because of overfishing.

But Romanian-born aquaculture and fisheries expert Ceapa, who wrote his PhD thesis on sturgeon ecology, is jubilant, calling this year “one of the best seasons up until now.”

That would mean since 2005, when he launched his bid to both play a role in the stewardship of New Brunswick’s small wild fishery and build a thriving commercial aquaculture business for one of the most expensive and prized products of the ocean. Both pieces are important, he says, because farmed and wild must go hand in hand.

“We’re heading for trouble,” he says, because human demand for seafood is increasing, and wild stocks are not.” For every wild fishery in existence today, Ceapa firmly believes, “We should start farming that species, side by side. Wild is not enough.”

The sturgeon story on the St. John is one that’s been repeated the world over: sturgeon fisheries in the Black, Caspian, and Baltic seas have all been closed because of overfishing. But there are pockets of recovering wild sturgeon stocks throughout North America, including in the St. Lawrence, Hudson and Columbia rivers. Wild sturgeon are also still protected in parts of Florida and Wisconsin, where they are reserved for sport fishing or meat gillnet fishing only…

Read the whole article here.

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