Sturgeon Aquafarms LLC and Marky's have become the only legal purveyors of purebred beluga caviar in the United States, launching the highly-sought after product on Marky’s website and in its offline stores this month.

According to a 6 August press release from the firms, this latest sale cycle marks the first time since 2005 that genuine beluga caviar has been available to American consumers.

“Fifteen years ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) banned all imports of beluga products due to the frighteningly rapid decrease of the wild population of beluga sturgeon in the Caspian Sea,” the companies explained.

Managing Partner of Sturgeon Aquafarms LLC and Marky's CEO Mark Zaslavsky helped set in motion the re-introduction of beluga caviar to the U.S. market beginning in 2003, when he was able to successfully provide safe and natural conditions for harvesting Caspian beluga broodstock at Sturgeon Aquafarms.

“During this time, Mr. Zaslavsky has also participated in widespread efforts to reinvigorate the Caspian beluga population via education and conservation efforts, including supplying [approximately] 160,000 fertilized eggs in 2017 and 2018 to help revive the Caspian Sea's waning beluga population,” the press release noted.

Sturgeon Aquafarms holds the first exemption from FWS for the commercial sale of beluga caviar. As such, it is the only company in the U.S. that is legally allowed to breed beluga and produce beluga caviar.  

“The Beluga sturgeon (Huso huso) is the largest sturgeon and one of the most long-lived species on the planet. Its eggs are the largest of the commonly used, edible roes. But after the beluga hatch, it takes between 10-15 years for the females to start producing eggs that can be harvested for prime caviar,” Sturgeon Aquafarms said.

The operation produces Grade 000-0 beluga caviar, which is “representative of its lighter color and larger size of beads,” the company said.

“The beluga caviar at Marky's from Sturgeon Aquafarms is a notable example of how we can use natural resources to please our taste buds and cravings of delicacies while simultaneously ensuring the sustainability of a species' population in the wild,” Sturgeon Aquafarms added.

In 2018, Sturgeon Aquafarms was impacted by Hurricane Michael, but the firm has since made a full recovery, permitting it “to share the first harvest of pure, all natural, high-grade beluga caviar with every gourmet food lover,” it said.

August 2020, by Madelyn Kearns,