MIAMI, June 9, 2003: Marky's,
leading importer in the multimillion dollar caviar industry,
announced today the arrival of five live beluga sturgeon. The
shipment marks the first time live beluga sturgeon, the source
of the world's finest caviar, have been transported to the U.S.
The five beluga sturgeon, each averaging about eight pounds,
arrived at Miami International Airport and were later taken
to a holding facility near Orlando, Fla. The beluga sturgeon
will serve as the initial stock for Sturgeon Aquafarms, an
aquaculture facility to be built in Central Florida by Marky's.
Over the past two decades, the Caspian's beluga sturgeon
population has dropped significantly due to environmental
degradation, invasion of exotic species and over fishing.
This decline has prompted companies like Marky's to take steps
toward relieving the pressure on the world population of sturgeon,
supplementing the wild catch with farmed caviar.
"In bringing Caspian beluga sturgeon to the U.S., we
hope to provide consumers with the authentic flavor of Russian
caviar they crave while allowing our customers to make an
environmentally responsible choice when purchasing top-quality
caviar from the Caspian region," said Mark Zaslavsky,
president of Marky's.
Many conservation groups, including the Wildlife Conservation
Society and the Natural Resources Defense Council, have appealed
to Americans to purchase caviar only from farm-bred sturgeon.
Until now, American aquafarms have primarily produced paddlefish
roe or California white sturgeon varieties of caviar, which
have their own distinct flavor. However, in using Caspian
sturgeon, Marky's will bring an authentic product and unmatched
domestic quality to the market.
The importation of live beluga sturgeon and the construction
of an aquaculture facility to farm this native Caspian stock
is only part of Marky's work to change the face of the caviar
industry and aid sturgeon conservation efforts. In March 2003,
Marky's signed a landmark agreement with Raskat, a Russian
caviar producer, to purchase beluga, osetra and sevruga caviar
produced without killing adult female sturgeon. This agreement
also ensures there is a compensatory release of sturgeon fry
into the Caspian Sea in order to replenish the declining stocks
In addition, under the agreement with Raskat, Marky's also
became the first company to require DNA batch tests for each
species of caviar, which are 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 to ensure
the origin and quality of its product to customers.
About Optimus Inc.
Optimus Inc., d.b.a. Marky's, is a leading gourmet foods importer
and distributor that was founded in 1983 in Miami, Florida.
Marky's 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 visit www.markys.com,
for more information.