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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