Whether it originates from Italy, Israel, or the United States, much of the world’s finest true caviar available today is farm-raised. After persistent overfishing and smuggling led to significantly diminished sturgeon populations in the Caspian Sea and Black Sea basin, the United States banned the import of Caspian and Black Sea basin Beluga caviar in 2005. This led to an increase in interest surrounding farmed caviars— today, many varieties of sturgeon are considered to be “threatened”, “endangered,” or “critically endangered” in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Among dozens of threatened sturgeon varities, the Russian sturgeon (from which Osetra caviar is harvested), the Beluga, and the Siberian sturgeon are prized for their roe.
In order to continue supplying the finest caviars in the world without negatively impacting the natural environments of these sturgeons, a variety of countries have introduced sustainable farms and fisheries. Not only do these sustainable farms take great care to mimic the natural environment of each sturgeon, providing them with an ideal space and diet to support growth, but many farms have begun cross-breeding desirable sturgeons, yielding hybrids that produce exquisite new additions to the caviar marketplace. Khavyar’s Beluga Siberian caviar, for instance, boasts all the rich, full flavor of Huso Huso roe, in spite of being farm-raised in Italy as a hybrid breed. This allows the highly prized characteristics of Beluga caviar to be passed down to future generations without negatively impacting Beluga in the wild. Similarly, Khavyar’s Imperial Prime caviar is harvested from a hybrid breed that combines the freshwater Kaluga sturgeon with the Japanese sturgeon to create a caviar with very large pearls and a striking mélange of golden-amber hues.
While each source of farmed caviar is different, all Khavyar suppliers are committed to upholding an unparalleled level of quality and sustainability. In Israel, for instance, sturgeon are raised in the crystalline waters of Dan Springs, where mountaintop snow melts into the Jordan River to feed the sturgeon ponds. These sturgeons are raised with the utmost care, and are fed an all-natural assortment of plants and proteins that support their roe. In Italy, water temperature is monitored around-the-clock to ensure all Giaveri caviar surpasses even the highest standards. Though farm-raising sturgeon has only come into popularity more recently, it has quickly become the gold standard in the industry, both for its environmental responsiveness and the caviar itself.
Today’s emphasis on farmed sturgeon caviar even allows domestic customers to source world-class varieties of caviar from within their own country. Our American Siberian caviar, for instance, offers deep charcoal-colored, medium-sized roe with a taste reminiscent of a fine Sevruga, all from within farms in the United States. Indeed, this roe is harvested from true Siberian sturgeon stock that are raised and maintained within the country.
When purchasing sturgeon caviar, it’s essential to confirm that it is sustainably raised and harvested. While some import and export bans have been lifted, a great many sturgeon populations are still critically threatened. By purchasing farm-raised sturgeon caviar, you can ensure you are contributing to environmentally responsible practices while still receiving the finest available sturgeon roe.