CITES publishes quotas for wild caviar from the Caspian Sea


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PRESS RELEASE

CITES publishes quotas for wild caviar from the Caspian Sea

Geneva, 3 March 2008 – The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has published the export quotas for caviar and other sturgeon products from the Caspian Sea set by the range States for 2008.

The publication of 2008 quotas at this time follows a change in the system governing the establishment of caviar export quotas from shared stocks of sturgeon species adopted at the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP14) held in The Hague, Netherlands in June 2007.

The quota year for caviar and meat will now run from 1 March until the last day of February in the following year, in order to reflect the fishing and marketing seasons.

In line with a recommendation made at CoP14, the quotas are at or below the levels of 2007. Iran’s caviar quota for Persian sturgeon has been reduced by 1,000 kg as a conservation measure.

“The Secretariat remains very concerned about the state of sturgeon stocks in the Caspian Sea. We will be working with the CITES Animals Committee, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Bank to support the Caspian littoral States in their efforts to maintain a viable fishery for these important species,” said CITES Secretary-General Willem Wijnstekers.

Meanwhile, recognizing that sturgeon stocks in the Black Sea/lower Danube River fishery have been seriously depleted, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine have maintained their zero caviar export quotas for 2008.

In the case of the stock shared by China and the Russian Federation in the Heilongjiang/Amur River, the Secretariat is seeking further clarification of information submitted by the States concerned and has not been able to publish a quota at this stage.

Additional background

As caviar stocks continued to decline through the 1990s, the Parties to CITES decided to place all sturgeon species that remained unlisted on its Appendix II, a decision that came into effect on 1 April 1998. Since then, all exports of caviar and other sturgeon products have had to comply with strict CITES provisions, including the use of export permits and specific labelling requirements.

In 2001, CITES responded to high levels of poaching and illegal trade in the Caspian Sea by agreeing a temporary ban. Extensive discussions and stronger actions by the range States were required before the annual quotas could be agreed for 2002 to 2005. The Secretariat was unable to publish quotas for 2006.

To have their proposed quotas published, countries with shared sturgeon stocks must agree amongst themselves on catch and export quotas based on scientific surveys of the stocks. They must also adopt a regional conservation strategy, combat illegal fishing and provide details of the scientific data used to establish the catch and export quotas.

The CITES regime requires caviar and other sturgeon products to be sold during the quota year in which it as harvested and processed. Because caviar is also a popular local delicacy in many of these countries, they must also focus on strengthening their controls over domestic trade in sturgeon.

Reduced supplies of caviar from the wild have encouraged many countries to establish aquaculture facilities for sturgeon, but in order to preserve incentives for the conservation of wild sturgeon stocks it is important to maintain a catch of these fish at sustainable levels.


Note to journalists: For more information, please contact David Morgan at +41-22-917-8123 (office) or or Juan-Carlos Vasquez at +41-22-917-8156 or .

Annual Export quotas (in kg) for specimens from shared stocks of sturgeon species
included in Appendix II for 1 March 2008 to 28 February 2009

Species

Azerbaijan

Islamic Republic of Iran

Kazakhstan

Russian Federation

Turkmenistan

Acipenser gueldenstaedtii

3 360 kg

1 000 kg

3 070 kg

20 000 kg

0 kg

A. nudiventris

0**

0 kg

0 kg

0 kg

0**

A. persicus

0**

37 000 kg

0 kg

0**

0**

A. ruthenus

0**

0**

0**

0 kg

0**

A. stellatus

3 000 kg

3 200 kg

8 500 kg

3 500 kg

0 kg

Huso huso

300 kg

1 000 kg

1 700 kg

700 kg

0 kg

** no quota proposed, therefore zero quota to be allocated.

 

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