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Fish Farm Bets On Caviar Demand

CANADA - A British Columbian company is expecting to start production of caviar from White Sturgeon in 2009.

Photo: Target Marine

Target Marine’s core business is the production of caviar and meat from White Sturgeon.

The company, owned and managed by residents of the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia, Canada has been in operation since 1994.

The company said: "The first hurdle to overcome in the production of caviar is separating the boys from the girls.

"Sturgeon have no sexual dimorphism, or known external indicators of their sex.

"Currently the only certain method of sexing the fish is through surgical incision and visual examination of the gonads. Other less invasive methods such as blood screening and ultrasound are currently being researched.

"The second obstacle in the production of caviar is time.

"Sturgeon are a relatively slow animal to reach sexual maturity and some females may not produce eggs until they reach an age of 30 years or more in the wild. With ample food, proper nutrition, and some warm water, these fish should mature at eight years of age."

Target Marine Products is the only producer of White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus)in Canada and the company says it is a sustainable form of producing caviar as fish stocks in the traditional regions of the Caspian sea are declining because of over harvesting.