Seafood Watch - Seafood Guide

Caviar, Paddlefish

© Monterey Bay Aquarium
SEAFOODRATINGMARKET NAMESLOCATION/CERTIFICATIONHOW CAUGHT/FARMED
Caviar, Paddlefish Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Caviar U.S. Wild
Caviar, Shovelnose Sturgeon Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Beluga, Hackleback, Osetra & Sevruga Caviar, Sturgeon Roe Mississippi River Wild
Caviar, Sturgeon Good Alternative: These are good alternatives to the best choices column. There are some concerns with how they are fished or farmed – or with the health of their habitats due to other human impacts. Beluga, Osetra & Sevruga Caviar, Sturgeon Roe U.S. Farmed
Caviar, Sturgeon Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Beluga, Osetra & Sevruga Caviar, Sturgeon Roe Imported Wild
Caviar, White Sturgeon Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Beluga, Osetra & Sevruga Caviar, Sturgeon Roe British Columbia, Canada Farmed in Tank Systems


Caviar, Wild, U.S. Paddlefish or Imported Sturgeon

The demand for caviar has depleted most of the world's wild sturgeon populations. Imported sturgeon, together with paddlefish and shovelnose sturgeon from the U.S. - and all their caviar products - are rated as "Avoid." Look for U.S.-farmed sturgeon and caviar as a "Good Alternative."

Summary

Caviar is the salted eggs or "roe" of sturgeon. Some of the world's best caviar comes from the Caspian Sea and is imported from Iran, Russia and Turkey. The U.S. also has wild sturgeon - white and shovelnose (also known as hackleback) and paddlefish that are harvested for their eggs. These are all rated as "Avoid."

Sturgeon and paddlefish are long-lived, slow-growing fish that reproduce late in life, traits that make them vulnerable to overfishing. In addition, fishery management is weak and many sturgeon are caught illegally. This, combined with water pollution and habitat loss due to dams, has further impacted sturgeon and paddlefish populations and some are at risk of extinction.

Most farmed sturgeon in the U.S. is raised in environmentally friendly farms, where the fish are completely enclosed in tanks and waste water can be treated.



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