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Russian Agency Seeks 'Extremely Tight State Monopoly' Over Sturgeon, Black Caviar Trade

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MOSCOW, Russia -- Russia's Federal Agency for Fisheries (Rosrybolovstvo) unveil a draft law on August 31 to introduce a state monopoly on trade in sturgeon and black caviar.

The bill would be introduced at a meeting in the city of Astrakhan of the State Council Presidium, Rosrybolovstvo head Andrei Krainy said.

"We need an extremely tight state monopoly on sturgeon. We have taken the first step by banning trade in confiscated [fish and caviar]," he told Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy.

About 7 tonnes of caviar is produced in Russia legally but 95% of caviar in the retail network has illicit provenance, he said.

"Speaking about sturgeon, caviar will not be accessible. Black caviar must not be accessible, it's just not that kind of commodity. In 15 years' time, we will be able to restore the sturgeon population and then we will be able to permit fishing," he said.

"Trade in illegal black caviar and sturgeon for the Volga-Caspian basin is worth $1 billion a year, according to our information," Krainy said.

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