Technically Speaking, What Is Sturgeon Caviar?

Sturgeon caviar in a tin can

People all over the world eat fish and shellfish eggs. Seafood roes are among the most valuable of fishery commodities because they are considered a delicacy and sell for a high price. The eggs can be acquired as whole roe, (the eggs still attached to the ovary, as with mullet), or as individual eggs that may be collected directly from where the female deposits or spawns her eggs (for instance, “tobiko,” from flying fish), or by harvesting the female and separating the eggs from the ovary (as with salmon, lumpfish, and sturgeon “caviar”). The most sought-after and high-valued of all seafood roes are the eggs obtained from the sturgeon. Traditionally coveted by royalty and the aristocracy, sturgeon caviar today is prized by chefs and discerning food connoisseurs the world over for its delicate flavor and nutrient-rich health benefits. Learn what caviar is, find out how it’s collected, and discover more about the fascinating sturgeon fish in this 4-page fact sheet written by Frank A. Chapman and Joel P. Van Eenennaam and published by the School of Forest Resources Program in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Sturgeon Aquaculture: Specialized Techniques: Determining the Sex of Sturgeon by Direct Examination of the Gonad Using a Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedure (FA183)

Figure 1. Location of the abdominal incision on a white sturgeon, used to visually examine the gonads during sex identification. The scalpel blade tip is located where the incision is made, approximately 3 to 4 ventral scutes anterior from the pelvic fin and midway between the ventral mid-line and scutes.Because male sturgeon are harvested for meat at 2-4 years of age and females are retained for caviar production, being able to determine the sex of individual sturgeon has specific economical advantages. But it is difficult to tell females from males, especially when the fish are young (from hatch to 3 years old). This 5-page fact sheet describes the standard method and tools for determining the sex of sturgeon by direct examination of the gonad using a minimally invasive surgical procedure. Written by Frank A. Chapman and Joel P. Van Eenennaam, and published by the UF Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, November 2012.

FA154/FA154 Sturgeon Aquaculture – Specialized Techniques: Determining the Stage of Sexual Maturity in Female Sturgeon for Artificial Spawning: The Egg Maturation Assay

FA-153, a 4-page illustrated fact sheet by Frank A. Chapman and Joel P. Van Eenennaam, describes a biological test to determine if sturgeon eggs are in the stage of final maturation — the principle behind the test, materials needed, and protocol. Published by the UF Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, December 2007.