MIAMI, March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Marky's
, a leading importer in the $100 million caviar industry,
today announced an agreement with Raskat, a Russian caviar producer,
to purchase beluga, osetra and sevruga caviar produced without
killing adult female sturgeon. This landmark agreement enables
Marky's Caviar to be the first caviar importer and distributor
in the U.S. to actively contribute to the task of protecting and
preserving the wild population of Caspian sturgeon.
The Caspian's beluga sturgeon population has dropped by
nearly 90 percent over the past two decades due to environmental
degradation, invasion of exotic species and over fishing.
This rapid decline prompted Marky's Caviar to establish controls
on caviar production and processing in order to protect and
preserve the world's resources of sturgeon.
According to the agreement, in 2003 100% of beluga caviar
will be produced without killing the fish; in 2004, this number
will reach 90% for osetra caviar, and in 2005 -- for sevruga
caviar. The adult sturgeon that produce caviar will be tagged
and released back into the wild, where their post- surgical
adaptation and migration patterns will be studied. The agreement
also ensures that there is a compensatory release of sturgeon
fry into the Caspian Sea in order to replenish the declining
stocks of sturgeon.
"We see ourselves as pioneers in developing solutions to
sturgeon sustainability and restoration," said Mark Zaslavsky,
president of Marky's Caviar. Mark Gelman, vice president and
co-founder of Marky's Caviar, added: "Our customers will have
proof that our product has been obtained in a legal and ecologically
sound manner, and will know that they are supporting the sturgeon
conservation efforts in the Caspian region."
In addition, Marky's Caviar is the first company to require
DNA batch tests for each species of caviar, which will be
verified by the CITES (Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species) Scientific Authority of the Russian Federation.
This DNA analysis of the roe of beluga, osetra and sevruga
caviar enables Marky's Caviar to ensure the origin and quality
of its product to customers.
The agreement also requires Raskat to provide specific documentation
tracing the entire caviar production process. This includes
approval of fishing quotas for the season by the Russian Federal
government, distribution of quotas among Russian fishing companies,
fishing licenses and permits issued to caviar distributors,
reports from fish processing plans, export permits, reports
on caviar storage and transportation, and quality control
inspection reports upon arrival of the caviar to the U.S.
"The sturgeon population has depleted significantly from
habitat destruction and over fishing, and we're extremely
excited to provide a solution to this problem," said Yevgeny
Aptekar, CEO of Raskat.
"We support Marky's Caviar and Raskat in their initiatives
to protect and restore sturgeon in the Caspian Sea," said
Mark Berrigan, the bureau chief of the Bureau of Aquaculture
Development, Division of Aquaculture of Florida Department
of Agriculture. "This agreement will help to save one of the
world's most precious prehistoric fish from becoming extinct."
Marky's Caviar will insist on all future agreements with
caviar and live fish suppliers to comply with these requirements
in order to further protect and restore the endangered sturgeon
About Marky's Caviar
Marky's Caviar, d.b.a. Optimus Inc., is a leading gourmet
foods importer and distributor that was founded in 1983 in
Miami, Florida. Marky's Caviar has been importing and exporting
more than 600 varieties of gourmet foods for over 18 years,
including Russian caviar, French foie gras, smoked salmon,
angulas, truffles, saffron, dry peppercorns, escargots, specialty
meats, cheeses and wild mushrooms. The company's specialties
are Black Sea and Caspian caviar and French foie gras. Please
for more information.