07 December, 2011

Abu Dhabi, Sturgeon Farming and Caviar

Except for a few, five or six, basic tastes - like that for sweet and bitter, most tastes are acquired. Acquired with time. Depending on where one lives and how one is brought up or lives through - time shapes up our character, senses and tastes. With time, many come to love tea and others coffee or both; with time, some people get used to eating and to like beetroots or bamboo shoots; with time the people of Hadhramaut get to very much love, dry, salted shark meat; with time, many people in the Far South-East Asia consider dog meat a delicacy; and - in the same way - there are many, who - with time, acquire the taste and the love for caviar.

What is very special about these eggs of fish? The eggs of sturgeon or paddlefish? Otherwise known as caviar? Like gold, they are very rare. They are a delicacy and highly priced. Some varieties cost between ten and twenty thousand US Dollars a kilogram. Caviar is - the pickled roe of sturgeon or other large fish, eaten as a delicacy. It is the caviar of the sturgeon or paddlefish that is extremely expensive. Many people are fooled into believing that they are buying or having caviar, when what they are actually buying or having are cheap substitutes. Note: only roe (mass of eggs) from sturgeon or paddlefish is real caviar. As a result of over-fishing and pollution, the numbers of the sturgeon and the paddlefish are fast dwindling. They are now both, considered a threatened species.

It is due to this that I am very happy and relieved that a company based in Abu Dhabi is planning to become the world's largest and most technologically advanced producer of high quality sustainably sourced caviar. The Royal Caviar Company, is not only planning to be the largest caviar farm in the world, it is also the first such farm in the Middle East. In partnership with a German firm, the company expects - at full capacity in 2015 - to produce up-to 35 tonnes of high quality Ossietra type caviar and 700 tonnes of sturgeon meat per year. Farming for caviar, is not only very profitable financially - it has one other, very good, positive side: by farming for the very rare and expensive eggs, the sturgeon and the paddlefish can be saved from extinction.

+ The IUCN Red List of Threatened Dpecies: Sturgeons, Paddlefish 
+ United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization on Caviar
+ Caviar Farming
+ Canada fish farm revives rare sturgeon