The uncontrolled harvesting of caviar in the wild took the sturgeon species close to extinction in the last century.
It wasn’t until later in the 19th Century that caviar became a delicacy admired and enjoyed by Royalty and the Aristocracy. By the end of the 20th Century Russia had introduced a total ban on the hunting of sturgeon, only just in time to avoid total extinction of the species in the wild.
The rarity of the product elevated its commercial value, and its rise in popularity became the primary cause of the over exploitation of fish stocks in the wild. This factor along with environmental challenges such as the construction of dams that have altered or blocked their annual migration to ancestral spawning grounds have taken a serious toll.
Even now almost all species are highly threatened or vulnerable to extinction due to a combination of habitat destruction, overfishing, and pollution.
Sturgeon are a prehistoric fish; the name is common for the 27 species belonging to the family Acipenseridae. Their evolution dates back to the Triassic period some 200 million years ago.
Sturgeons are long living fish and they take between seven and fifteen years to develop into adults. They can live up to 60 years of age, and the largest recorded catch was a Beluga that was 25ft long and weighed 1500kg.
Traditionally the fish were killed in the process of collecting the caviar, however recent innovations to the process have made that unnecessary. Alongside various governments regulatory protection measures, sturgeon farms have played a crucial role in conservation and preservation of the species.
Not only have fish stocks of the various species been rebuilt, but the consumer demand for the caviar has almost completely moved across to farmed resources.
Introducing the Caviar Paradox
The commercial demands of sturgeon farming for caviar purposes can cause a paradox.
The fish do not produce caviar until they are at least seven years old. Sturgeons are broadcast spawners, and so even as adults they do not spawn every year because the conditions to do so are very specific. Most importantly the quality of the caviar for consumption purposes increases as the fish age. The eggs of a 20-year-old sturgeon will be more of a delicacy than those of a 10 year old.
Eggs from an older fish will be larger and more firm, which give a more pleasing texture in the mouth and the flavour will be stronger with more depth and intensity. From a commercial farming perspective, the paradox is therefore obvious.
The wait and investment in rearing the fish is long. The temptation is to cash in on the first harvest, however since in many cases the fish are killed in the process, the investment cycle starts again and truly premium caviar becomes an unattainable goal.
The opportunity to allow the fish to mature properly takes substantial planning and investment patience.
Solving the Caviar Paradox
This is why at Pearla Caviar the commercial prerogative is to keep our fish alive and in good health. We invest heavily and continually in the environment and the aqua culture, and most importantly our expert biologists over many years, innovated a proprietary technology and process for harvesting the caviar that keeps the fish alive and in great health.
Commercially this makes us totally sustainable, and means we have fish in our farm that are over twenty-five years old, and why without any post harvesting enhancements our pure caviar is of premium quality.
The caviar market in Europe is quite enigmatical, and in most instances, it is difficult to see through the marketing to know from where the caviar has come. Pearla Caviar is not unique, but is still quite unusual in that it is a caviar brand that owns a fish farm.
This is significant in that the company knows the exact provenance of its product, and can guarantee its sustainability. It knows how old the fish are, the quality and conditions of the water it has lived in its entire life, it knows that the fish have eaten the best organically produced feed, and that they have never been given antibiotics or other medicines.
Pearla Caviar promotes this natural, organic, and sustainable approach to fish farming and caviar production, and rightly reference “the integrity of provenance” of the caviar in every jar. Enabling the fish to live long natural lives means that each year Pearla Caviar is harvesting caviar from fish ranging in age from 7 to 25 years.
To further raise the issue of ethical harvesting, and sustainable farming, Pearla Caviar is making a bold move in 2019 by being the first caviar retailer to differentiate its products not only by sturgeon species, but now also by age of the fish that have given the caviar.
Real gourmands will be able to select caviar that can legitimately claim to be premium. From Pearla Caviar you will soon be able to buy each type of caviar given by fish in three age groups; 7 – 10 years, 10 – 18 years, and 18 years and older. All the fish are raised and treated equally, and all the caviar is therefore pure, sustainable, ethically produced and of course delicious and refined.
Pearla Caviar only package caviar from their own fish stocks, and do not sell to other brands for re-packaging. The farm and all its products are covered by their recently awarded halal certificate, which is a significant third party endorsement of the cleanliness and purity of the product, process and facility.