Caviar is defined as mature sturgeon roe, and is extracted exclusively from the sturgeon family of fish. It is also referred to as roe, but this term refers to all fish roe, so caviar is the name given specifically to sturgeon roe. Caviar is always spherical in shape, but the colour can change, ranging from dark to lighter shades.

Depending on the species, the size, texture and taste also change. All sturgeon species are native to Eurasia, mainly the Caspian and Black Seas. Initially, sturgeons were caught for their caviar only in Russia and Iran. Iran. However, as a consequence of rising caviar prices over the years, and its popularisation as a luxury product, overfishing of sturgeons led to to a near extinction of several of the species.

To prevent their extinction, since 1998 the sturgeon trade has been regulated by the CITES Agreement (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

This means that all caviar currently traded comes from sturgeon. currently on the market comes from farmed sturgeon. In 2016, the European Commission stated that, over a 15-year period, sturgeon aquaculture production had increased by around 60%, reaching a global production of 105,000 tonnes.

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