AFP via Spacedaily.com 'reports' below.
Can you believe this maggot admitted to eating
Risky but justified: Putin backs state monopoly on caviar
MOSCOW (AFP) Jun 20, 2003
Restoring a state monopoly over the caviar industry would be risky but "justified" in view of the massive slump in production due to poaching on the Volga river and in the Caspian Sea, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday.
"A monopoly is always dangerous," Putin told reporters at his annual press conference in response to a question asking whether a monopoly might not be necessary to protect sturgeon, the fish that produces the delicacy.
"But given the singular nature of the problem, given the present danger, I think that we have to weigh it all up, that such a decision should be prepared by specialists, I think that in principle it could be justified," Putin said.
When a reporter noted that even with the state spending large sums on attempting to prevent caviar trafficking, smuggled caviar was readily available in Moscow markets, Putin replied: "I know, I've had some."
According to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), some 90 percent of world trade in caviar is illegal.
Legal catches of sturgeon in the Caspian Sea, which accounts for 90 percent of world trade, have fallen from 30,000 tonnes in the late 1970s to less than 3,000 tonnes two decades later, the species protection body said.
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Russia | Depletion | June 2003