According to the “Global Black Caviar Market” research conducted by WWF in conjunction with the TRAFFIC Wildlife Monitoring Network, Ukraine has been among the top three of the countries that illegally import black caviar to Europe and the United States. Next to it in this ranking were also Russia and Iran.
However, the study also notes that in 81% of cases in the EU countries, and in 95% of cases in the US, the importation of caviar occurs without indicating the country of origin.
The study presented in Geneva demonstrated that the non-binding nature of black caviar labeling under the international CITES standard in key countries of sturgeon distribution greatly facilitates illegal trade of it.
According to Natalia Gozak, WWF Wildlife Coordinator in Ukraine and the project “Life for Danube Sturgeon”, in accordance with CITES, in Ukraine it is necessary to introduce an obligatory system of labeling products for black caviar producers. So far such a system of marking is introduced voluntarily.
According to her, it should include mandatory genetic certification of manufacturers, a procedure for testing products on the market and a centralized traceability system.
The authors of the study demand that the law enforcement agencies of European countries strengthen control over the importation of black caviar, especially from the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Iran and Azerbaijan.
The study also notes that illegal fishing, which is provoked by the high price of caviar and the popularity of this product specifically from wild sturgeon, leads to a rapid reduction in the population of wild sturgeon.
By the way, officially officially black caviar from Ukraine is exported only by two companies – Osetr and “Bester”.