Eggs on Their Faces (Lots of Little Tiny Ones)
The U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species yesterday rejected a ban on Caspian Sea caviar proposed by a scientific advisory committee. Instead, the countries around the Caspian agreed to suspend exports for six months, while an agreement is negotiated to improve long-term management of sturgeon, whose unfertilized eggs are caviar. Russia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan approved the deal, and Turkmenistan is expected to sign on. Lisa Speer of the Natural Resources Defense Council dismissed the voluntary action because the sturgeon fishing season is mostly over. About 80 percent of caviar served in Western Europe and the U.S. comes from the Caspian, but populations of sturgeon have dropped by 90 percent in the last 20 years.