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Poaching and fishing are taking a heavy toll on the Caspian Sea sturgeon (RFE/RL)
22 December 2005 -- The World Wildlife Fund for Nature is appealing to Russians not to eat caviar this holiday season. Environmental groups say the Caspian Sea's sturgeon population -- from which most caviar is harvested -- has dwindled due to unchecked fishing and poaching.
Speaking at a news conference in Moscow today, WWF project coordinator Alexei Vaisman said that by not eating caviar, Russians would be doing several good deeds. He said it would lower profits for the mafia that thrive on poaching, as well as cut down on general corruption. Most importantly, Vaisman said, it would save the sturgeon from extinction.
The U.S. government -- in response to environmental concerns -- has suspended all trade in the prized beluga sturgeon from the Caspian and Black Sea basin.