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3 Sep, 2007 06:35

Caviar could become state monopoly in Russia

Russia`s Agricultural Ministry has called for the creation of a state monopoly on black caviar exports.

The call comes with sturgeon stocks having plummeted almost forty-fold since the end of the Soviet Union due to overfishing.

This year more than two tons of illegal caviar has been confiscated in Russia and almost a hundred kilos destroyed, according to the Agriculture Minister.

The Minister says that the sale of sturgeon caviar at markets should be banned and that it should only be sold in specialized shops.

Fisheries officials have also suggested banning foreign companies fishing in Russia.

According to Vedomosti, Korean, Chinese and Japanese companies control about 65% of the pollack harvest.

The paper reports that foreigners own most smaller fishing companies, though the bigger companies – those operating 20 boats or more – are Russian.

Following this news, the Russian fishing group “Russkoye More” refused to sell 20% of its shares to the Norwegian company, Austevoll Seafood ASA.