Shortage of black caviar in Saint Petersburg multiples to cause further price hikes

August 6, 2007 12:12

A ban on sale of fish products harvested by poachers and seized by the authorities has brought the supply on the Russian market of sturgeon caviar next to naught and Saint Petersburg retailers say that there is practically no legal product left in the city, according to Delovoy Petersburg.

The corresponding amendments to the Federal Law No.52 "On Fauna" leading to the devlopment were approved in April 2007 (earlier seized black caviar became state property and went for legal sale). As a result, the market lost the main source of black caviar supplies as the illegal harvest would considerably exceed the legal catch, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Wholesale prices of black caviar on the Russian market has already approximated the world prices rising from 500 USD per 1000 USD per kilo in Moscow. In Saint Petersburg the prices are even higher because the product has been supplied to the city only through indirect channels.

In this situation a spokesman of Lenta hypermarket chain projects that a further rise of black caviar prices will amount to 20-25% in the near future.

According to Vyacheslav Mironov, general director of OAO Russian Caviar (plc), his company, which is Russia's ex-giant sturgeon caviar producer, has had to shut down its production after the 2-year-old ban on commercial sturgeon fishery. The volume of legal production of sturgeon caviar in Russia has fallen to 2-3 tonnes per year after the ban was introduced.

Now it is already very difficult to find sturgeon caviar in Russian retail chains and restaurants. According to Alexander Skobelev, director of Saint-Petersburg branch of the Russian federal retail chain Perekrestok, they have completely removed black caviar from their shelves because it is quite a challenge to find suppliers with lawful documents for the product. The same thing has been confirmed by METRO Group and other chains, said the report.

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