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Canada - Acadian Sturgeon & Caviar

Carter's Point (New Brunswick), April 22, 2021

Proving New Brunswick caviar is up there with the best

" Canada's importance to the world's sturgeon and caviar supply is now well-known "

For years, sturgeon has been known as the source of caviar, that famous delicacy associated with Russia and Iran. Sturgeons are found in New Brunswick too, in the St John River. Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar is proving that New Brunswick caviar is equal if not better!

While sturgeon has become endangered due to overfishing, Dr Cornel Ceapa (Bailli of New Brunswick) has revived the fishery in St John River. He is building a national market for caviar also developing products putting sturgeon on the menu in restaurants and dinner tables.

When Romanian-born marine biologist Dr Ceapa moved to New Brunswick in 2003, there wasn’t a sturgeon fishery. People were even asking if sturgeon was good to eat. The last fishing licence had been given out in 1990’s. There was no market or interest. Ceapa's specialty was sturgeon. Knowing the St John River had two species and feeling the fishery was viable he believed a market for sturgeon and its caviar could be developed.

Ceapa set up a unique operation including a wild fishery and aquaculture component. Usually, it’s one or the other. He wanted to ensure enough fish to maintain the business, and not overfish. “Wild” is the quality standard to aim for when sturgeon are farmed as in aquaculture it’s very important to obtain a high-quality product similar to that from the wild.

Worldwide sturgeon had become endangered because only eggs were used discarding the rest of the fish. Ceapa built his business using the whole fish, tail to snout developing a series of products for the Canadian food and restaurant industry. For the restaurant trade, he devised a unique recipe for sturgeon chips deep fried with a crunch.

Education and tourism are an important component of Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar’s offering. Tours give visitors an amazing safari experience - from fishing trips to enjoying marvellous riverbank meals. Educating school groups, restaurant staff and foodies about the Canadian sturgeon (a fish on the move) is central. Certified as an “Ocean Wise” product means consumers know it’s sustainably produced - a fishery done right.

Ceapa travels throughout Canada introducing chefs and restaurant owners to his products making suggestions how to introduce them onto their menus. Relevant for growing local and hyperlocal food, consumers look for menus featuring products from their regions.

Connoisseurs, reviewers, bloggers and foodies praise the three types of caviar: “Acadian Gold” and “Acadian Green” caviar from farmed fish, “Acadian Wild” from the traditional fishery. It’s the only wild, legal and sustainable caviar harvested in the world.

Canada's importance to the world's sturgeon and caviar supply is now well-known industry-wide. Acadian supplies live sturgeon to hatcheries and researchers worldwide. Live fertilized eggs from Atlantic Sturgeon restock in the Baltic Sea as the local species is biologically identical.

Sturgeon burgers anyone? This is one of the many recipes Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar has invented to promote its products and get sturgeon on menus and into diets of Canadians. Other options: ground meat for fish balls or cakes; barbecue or grill fillets; fish stock from fins, bone marrow, cartilage; adventurous chefs recreate Ceapa’s own ceviche recipe with belly or loin meat. As for the caviar, a spoonful is delicious - perfect with eggs or blinis. That's caviar for breakfast Canadian-style.

Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar has a diverse approach to marketing their culinary experience and products. It has a strong social media presence with daily Instagram posts (#caviarismemories, #Canadianseafoodforcanadians, #acadiancaviar). Working with local tour companies brings more tourists to the site, participating in food and wine shows educates a new generation about caviar and sturgeon and above all sustainability. A Sturgeon and Caviar Academy functions year-round in Carters Point and at events and food expos. It involves a multi-course tasting with lots of instructions and recipes.

Developing strong local markets in New Brunswick region is a key promotional activity. You’ll find Acadian on seafood stalls in nearby Saint John’s historic City Market - the oldest continuously operated farmer's market in Canada - and other New Brunswick seafood markets. Sturgeon is taking its place alongside other famous fish from the east coast of Canada.

Marie Jones
Managing Editor

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