How ‘caviar’ is stolen from a female fish

This costly “delicacy” involves cutting the ovary of a fish to steal her eggs. This is PETA’s video and it is an eyeopener. It is just another example of animal abuse; one that not many people either know about or are interested in.

You may know that the roe (eggs) of any fish species cannot be described as ‘caviar’ when on a plate in a restaurant. It has to be the roe from one of the 28 species of fish belonging to the sturgeon family. If the eggs come from another fish, it is called imitation carrier or one of the “substitutes of caviar”. That’s my understanding.

Caviar is a very big business. The money involved is enormous and there are people wealthy enough to want to eat the stuff but I guess they don’t really do their research to find out how it’s extracted from the ovaries.


Historically, I’m told, the eggs were extracted from the ovaries by literally extracting the ovaries. Another method is performing a cesarean section. And yet another method is a process called ‘stripping’ which extracts the roe from the fish by a small incision made along the urogenital muscle at a time when it is deemed to be productive to remove the eggs. The timing is determined through ultrasound. The last method is the one we see in the video as I understand it.

RELATED: Millions of dead fish blanket the Darling River, Australia due to climate change and mismanagement

As you might expect, caviar extraction has always been overdone to the point where, for example, the sturgeon almost became extinct in Russia resulting in a ban in 2007. The ban on sturgeon fishing in the Caspian Sea led to aquaculture; commercial farming to produce caviar.


A number of countries produce and export caviar. As you might expect, China is the world’s biggest producer accounting for 60% of world production. No surprise there. The largest caviar company is the Chinese brand Kalugar Queen. They farm sturgeon.


The higher the quality the more expensive it is as you might also expect. Wild beluga sturgeon caviar from the Caspian Sea was priced in 2012 at $16,000 per kilogram.

RELATED: Fish endure prolonged suffering due to a failure to stun them before slaughter

Royal family

In the UK, the British Royal family have been linked to caviar since 1324 when Edward II decreed it a royal fish. All sturgeon found within the foreshore of the kingdom were decreed the property of the monarch. I have no idea whether that rule still applies. However, there are sturgeon in UK waters. There are two native species of sturgeon, the Atlantic and the European sturgeon. The species can reach up to 5 m long and can live for over 60 years.


If I was in charge, I’d ban all caviar farming. I mean all. It is exploitation of animals. And fish feel pain in case you wondered. They are sentient and not nuts and bolts.

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