- Title: GERMANY: Eastern German caviar producer hopes for success story.
- Date: 26th November 2006
- Summary: TIN FILLED WITH CAVIAR/ LID BEING PLACED ON TIN
- Embargoed: 11th December 2006 12:00
- Location: Germany
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Industry
- Reuters ID: LVA4YH2WDUTSM59GMI3D2GOF9YF9
- Story Text: A northern German caviar producer hopes to turn its production of the pricey delicacy into a success story in an otherwise economically depressed area of former East Germany.
"Caviar Creator" in the Demmin, an hour's drive south of the Baltic Sea coast, claims to operate the world's largest indoor fish breeding site with some 79,000 sturgeons, producing 800 kilos of caviar in the first year since the plant opened here in September 2005.
The company and its 19 full-time employees hope to one day breed 11 tons of caviar annually and another 130 tons of sturgeon meat.
So far though, many of the Siberian sturgeons which have been introduced to northeastern Germany's state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are not yet sexually mature.
Sturgeons need to reach age four before the female fish carry the caviar inside their stomachs.
The fish are killed traditionally with a hit over their head before workers in antiseptic suits slice open their stomachs.
Since the fish's eggs spoil quickly, workers remove the caviar from the animals' stomachs', wash it and salt it, all within ten minutes.
Caviar lovers presently pay about 120 euros (154.4 U.S. dollars) for 100 grams of the Siberian sturgeon delicacy. 100 grams of the higher quality Beluga caviar is valued at around 800 euros (1,030 USD).
"Caviar Creator" estimates that in about two years they will be able to work with their own fish, born and raised in Demmin.
Until then, the German branch of the company which is based in the U.S. state of Nevada, has to buy fish aged between two and three years.
Company manager Detlef Duecker told Reuters Television during a recent visit "after four years (the sturgeon) reaches a weight of about ten kilos, sometimes a little more."
"Ten percent of the body weight are caviar, worth between 1,000 (1,287 USD) and 1,300 (1,673 USD) euros," Ducker said.
Caviar was considered a poor people's meal in the 19th century.
The fish eggs were seen as a by-product of the European sturgeon which at the time was also at home in German rivers.
(1 U.S. dollar =.7770 Euro)
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