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Ban On Caviar From Wild Sturgeon Goes Into Effect

Workers at an Iranian facility on the Caspian Sea cut the caviar out of a Beluga Sturgeon (AFP) 3 January 2005 -- An international ban on the export of caviar and other products from wild sturgeon entered into force today.

The ban was decreed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, a UN body charged with monitoring threatened wildlife.

Spokesman Juan Carlos Vasquez told RFE/RL the trade ban applies only to wild sturgeon, primarily from the Caspian and Black Sea basins.

He said it will remain in force until caviar-producing countries in the region abide by earlier commitments to ensure the sustainability of their sturgeon populations.

"There is a resolution that established the conditions for the export of caviar and sturgeon products. And the producing countries should fulfill these conditions, including a management plan for the species, population surveys, appropriate controls, labeling, etc."

Uncontrolled poaching has led to steep declines in the populations of wild sturgeon in the Caspian and Black seas. The Russian chapter of Greenpeace called on Russians not to eat caviar this holiday season to help save the species.

(with AFP reporting)