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Florida farmers may see caviar dreams come true

US - Consumers will be forced to dine more on farmraised caviar from California and Florida thanks to a ban on the eggs of the endangered Caspian Sea beluga sturgeon.

Dining on caviar is nothing new in a state that boasts some of the richest municipalities -- and palettes -- in the nation. But producing caviar?

Because the U.S. government has shut down foreign imports of the delectable, yet pricey, eggs of the endangered Caspian Sea beluga sturgeon, patrons of the region's finer restaurants will be forced to dine more on farm-raised caviar from California and yes, Florida. Other countries can also still ship farm-raised caviar.

The import ban on ''wild'' caviar, which began in September 2005 with the sought-after beluga, was expanded in January to include two other wild caviars from the Caspian region, osetra and sevruga.

The only country permitted to export the product this year is Iran, which produces a wild golden osetra being offered up at the Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach for $300 an ounce.

''That is the future of caviar,'' said Hubert Des Marais, executive chef at the Four Seasons. Diners are accepting the farm-raised products, he said, and caviar is as much in demand as ever.

Source: Miami Herald

the Fish Site Editor

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