Beluga meat, caviar to hit U.S. market

A U.S. aquaculture company will begin marketing beluga and sevruga meat and caviar later this year, reports with reference to SeafoodSource.

This marks the first time that beluga sturgeon native to the Caspian Sea will be produced in the United States. Sturgeon AquaFarms in Bascom, Fla., is producing beluga, sevruga and two other species as breeding stock, for sale as fresh meat and for gourmet caviar.

In December, Sturgeon AquaFarms will begin distributing the beluga caviar, and the fresh sevruga meat will be available by the 2012 International Boston Seafood Show in March. The product will be distributed by Sturgeon AquaFarms' partner, Marky's of Miami.

"Sevruga is the finest-tasting meat and is unbelievable smoked. It is the No. 1 consumed fish in Russia," said Mark Zaslavsky, partner of Sturgeon AquaFarms, founded in April 2001.

Zaslavsky believes that American consumers will accept the sevruga meat. The Sturgeon AquaFarms' facility sports more than 40,000 sevruga, which grow to between 10 and 12 kilograms. The United States and Europe are the target markets for Sturgeon AquaFarms' beluga caviar. Zaslavsky believes that the company's farmed caviar tastes better than wild caviar because it is produced in drinking water from an aquifer near its farm.

In addition to caviar and meat, Sturgeon AquaFarms' will send baby beluga fish to its partner fisheries in Russia, to release into the Caspian Sea.

"The farm reduces pressure on the wild stocks in the Caspian Sea. The stocks are threatened there and in need of help," said Zaslavsky.

It was a tricky process for Sturgeon AquaFarms to get beluga, sevruga and other species into the Unites States to originally stock its farm. The United States has restrictions on importing kill fish and oxygen on airlines. So Zaslavsky flew on commercial flights from Russia to Europe to the United States with individual fish in plastic bags with water, 13 different times.

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