Sustainability

Sturgeon, Farmed

Sturgeon farmed in the U.S. is a "Good Alternative" to most wild sturgeon, whose populations have seriously declined due to overfishing for sturgeon eggs (caviar).

Summary

Sturgeon is prized for its eggs, known as caviar. There are 26 species of sturgeon in the world and all populations have been depleted by overfishing; several are threatened with extinction. As a result, sturgeon was one of the first fish to be farmed and the industry continues working to refine the process.

In the U.S., five species of sturgeon are farmed; a number of these are non-native, but fortunately escapes have been minimal.

U.S. sturgeon is farmed in semi-closed and closed recirculating systems, with minimal impact on the environment. Semi-closed farms create some risk of disease transfer to wild populations, but this has not been documented.

The major environmental concern with farming of sturgeon is the high level of wild-caught fish used in their farm-fed diet. Until this is reduced, the recommendation for U.S. farmed sturgeon is a "Good Alternative" to most wild-caught options.

For more information, vist the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Food Watch.

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