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Russia to export 2.5 tonnes of caviar to EU: watchdog

by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Feb 16, 2011
Russia expects to export at least 2.5 tonnes of sturgeon caviar to the European Union this year after lifting a nine-year ban on such sales, the fisheries watchdog said Wednesday.

The world's second-largest official producer of caviar after Iran said earlier this month that it would resume EU sales of black caviar from farmed fish, sending a 150-kilogramme (330-pound) test shipment to Europe.

Russia banned the harvest of sturgeon caviar in 2006 to help fight overfishing. Caviar production resumed in specially designed farms in 2010.

The head of the Federal Fisheries Agency said Wednesday that Russia expected to send 2.5 tonnes "or more" of the premium delicacy to Europe this year, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The report provided no export figures to other countries.

In 2010, Russia and three other former Soviet republics set quotas allowing for the export of three tonnes of sturgeon caviar between them.

The decision was reached to help fight poachers, who were flooding the black market with illegally-produced caviar.

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