In the United States:
STATEMENT FROM CAVIAR EMPTOR:
(June 1, 2006) Romania, a top five exporter of beluga caviar, has announced a ban on all commercial sturgeon fishing for the next 10 years, citing concerns about continued declines in sturgeon populations. Environmentalists and scientists with the Caviar Emptor campaign applaud the decision and encourage other Caspian and Black sea nations to do the same, especially for the endangered beluga sturgeon.
An official publication released in May by Romania’s Ministry of Environment and Water Management and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Rural Development said the ban was ordered after considering the worrying decline of registered sturgeon catches in Romania since 2000 and the extinction of other sturgeon species in Europe during the last century.
Even though the UN’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species earlier this spring banned most of the 2006 global trade in wild caviar, Romania was granted a small export quota. This new decision by Romania means that for the next 10 years, the nation will not commercially fish for sturgeon, will not ask for CITES to grant future export quotas and will not produce caviar for the domestic market. Romania says it hopes the ban achieves “conservation and rehabilitation of sturgeon populations… through [the] temporary prohibition on commercial fishing.”
Wild sturgeon populations around the world have suffered from overfishing, illegal trade, habitat loss and pollution, making it one of the most endangered fishes on the planet. “It is too bad that it takes a crisis to motivate countries to take drastic steps in conservation, but we hope that Romania’s action will encourage other nations that produce wild caviar to act now to save the sturgeon. So much time has been wasted, and these remarkable fish desperately need a break from all fishing,” said the Caviar Emptor coalition of SeaWeb, Pew Institute for Ocean Science and Natural Resources Defense Council.
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