CITES authorizes 2004 export quotas for Caspian Sea caviar


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PRESS RELEASE

CITES authorizes 2004 export quotas for Caspian Sea caviar
 

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Bangkok, 8 October 2004 – The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has announced today the 2004 export quotas for Caspian Sea sturgeon.

The approval follows an agreement by the five Caspian Sea States on a new approach to managing sturgeon stocks and the caviar trade that gives the Caspian States an economic incentive to reduce illegal harvesting, to promote sustainable fisheries management and to provide much-needed stability for the caviar industry.

Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Turkmenistan have agreed to reduce their caviar export quotas significantly for this year. Their combined 2004 export quota for caviar from beluga – the rarest and most valuable of all sturgeon – is 50% of the 2003 level. The quota for stellate sturgeon has been reduced by 40% compared to 2003. The levels of caviar from Russian and Persian sturgeon have been cut by 10%. These will now be considered the new base levels for discussions on quotas for future years. (See the attached table for details.)

"The Caspian States have agreed to reduce substantially their caviar exports this year. They have achieved these reductions through adjustments to the total harvest of sturgeons and through an increase in the amount of harvested sturgeons devoted to hatchery conservation programs," said Dr. Jim Armstrong, CITES Deputy Secretary General.

"The new approach agreed here gives the governments a strong economic stake in tackling illegal fishing. As the illegal trade declines, legal exports – and thus government earnings – will rise accordingly in future years," he said.

In addition to committing themselves to tackling illegal catch and trade, the range States have agreed to finalize future quotas by the beginning of each trading year. This will offer greater certainty and stability to both the fishing and caviar industries as they make their business plans. The governments have also agreed to place a higher percentage of legally harvested sturgeon fish into hatcheries each year as an added conservation measure.

CITES responded to high levels of poaching and illegal trade in the Caspian Sea – which accounts for some 90% of world caviar – by calling on the Range States to take stronger action. The trade in Caspian Sea caviar was halted for a period in 2001. Extensive discussions and stronger actions by the range states were required before the 2002 and 2003 quotas could be agreed.

Today’s announcement was made in the margins of a two-week CITES conference being held in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference is also considering a proposed revision of Resolution Conf. 12.7 (see www.cites.org/fra/res/12/12-7.shtml). Introduced by the CITES Secretariat, this resolution would, if agreed next week, apply this same new approach combining a strengthening of conservation measures with tighter regulations to combat illegal markets to all the major sturgeon-producing basins, including the Black Sea, the Azov Sea and the Amur River.

The CITES Secretariat is administered by UNEP, the UN Environment Programme.

Note to journalists: For more information, contact the CITES press office in Bangkok at +66-4-098-7621 or email juan.vasquez@unep.ch or michael.williams@unep.ch. See also www.cites.org.

 

Caspian sturgeon caviar export quotas 2001-2004

(in kilograms)

Azerbaijan

2001

2002

2003

2004

Beluga

520

530

400

200

Russian Sturgeon

3 450

2 770

4 200

3 780

Stellate Sturgeon

2 840

2 470

4 500

2 700

Ship Sturgeon

0

0

0

0

         

Islamic Rep. of Iran

2001

2002

2003

2004

Beluga

3 950

2 950

2 130

1 065

Russian Sturgeon

3 460

2 100

1 950

1 755

Stellate Sturgeon

23 400

14 827

11 700

7 020

Ship Sturgeon

1 000

0

0

0

Persian Sturgeon

51 000

55 890

63 000

56 700

         

Kazakhstan

2001

2002

2003

2004

Beluga

4 200

5 140

4 720

2 360

Russian Sturgeon

3 200

4 480

3 560

3 204

Stellate Sturgeon

20 900

17 280

18 350

11 010

Ship Sturgeon

2 500

0

0

0

         

Russian Federation

2001

2002

2003

2004

Beluga

2 300

1 500

1 600

800

Russian Sturgeon

17 300

16 700

16 200

14 580

Stellate Sturgeon

13 500

13 500

13 800

8 280

Ship Sturgeon

0

0

0

0

Sterlet

100

100

100

100

         
         

TOTALS

2001

2002

2003

2004

Beluga

10 970

10 120

8 850

4 425

Russian Sturgeon

27 410

26 050

25 910

23 319

Stellate Sturgeon

60 640

48 077

48 350

29 010

Ship Sturgeon

3 500

0

0

0

Sterlet

100

100

100

100

Persian Sturgeon

51 000

55 890

63 000

56 700

TOTAL

153 620

140 237

146 210

113 554

 

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