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Russia seeks caviar monopoly

Aug. 31, 2007 at 3:32 PM

ASTRAKHAN , Russia, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- The Russian Agriculture Ministry called Friday for state control of black caviar exports.

Rampant poaching and dwindling caviar-producing sturgeon have played havoc with the delicacy, Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordyev said in a speech in Astrakhan.

He said numbers of the fish, which take up to 16 years to mature, have plummeted almost 40-fold since the breakup of the Soviet Union due to overfishing and are listed by the World Conservation Union as an endangered species, Novosti reported.

Further, he said, more than 2 tons of illegal caviar had been confiscated in Russia this year.

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