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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Just Got ta' Follow 'da Rules - Part Two

Due largely to the near extinction of Sturgeon fish stocks in the Caspian Sea region, the US banned the importing of Beluga caviar in 2006 after officially listing it under the US Endangered Species Act. However, in the the ScienceDaily (as late as) Mar. 6, 2008, it was reported that the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) announced trade quotas governing the export of wild sturgeon and their prized caviar eggs from the Caspian Sea. The Pew Institute for Ocean Science has analyzed the quotas, which are re-set each year, and has determined that beluga caviar quotas are virtually unchanged from 2007 and do little to halt continued population declines'.

Further the article indicated that -

In 2007, quotas for Beluga caviar were 3,761 kg and this year, the export quota is 3,700 kg. (This slight decrease reflects the absence of a quota for Turkmenistan, which is not a Party to CITES but in past years has been allocated an export quota through neighboring Kazakhstan). Since the beluga population in the Caspian Sea has certainly not increased or stabilized since 2007, the quotas should be reduced to reflect this.

Caviar export quotas also decreased slightly for Russian sturgeon, from 27,630 kg in 2007 to 27,430 kg in 2008; and for sevruga sturgeon, which went from 20,337 kg to 18,200 kg, again reflecting the absence of quotas for Turkmenistan. Quotas for Persian sturgeon caviar dropped from 38,000 kg to 37,000 kg, and represent the only case in which a quota was voluntarily lowered.

A number of effective systems have been put in place in order to save the Sturgeon populations impacted by overharvesting especially over the last twenty years - a time period that evidenced a 90% decline in the specie's population. According to Dr. Pheadra Doukakis, a research scientist at the Pew Institute, 'For the quota system to be effective at conserving sturgeons in the wild, it must be justified by accurate information about wild populations.'


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