Government sanctions against the salty, chic fish eggs are more performative than anything. Caviar imported from Russia worldwide has dropped to a tiny fraction of the global volume it commanded during the 1990s. That’s because Russia popularized caviar from wild sturgeon, often the beluga species that swims in the Caspian and Black seas. Fishermen cut out the roe from the sturgeon and often tossed the fish back in the water to die. Both Russia and Iran in particular became huge producers of expensive caviar, but after the sturgeon population fell 30%, producing caviar from the fish was banned in the early 2000s. Experts suggest that 2008 was the last time Russian caviar was served in America.
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