More information

Beluga (caviar)

Quality mark Cultivation
/Keurmerk Wild
Second choice
Informatie over vissoort
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Beluga (caviar)

The Beluga, or European, sturgeon can be found in the Caspian and the Black sea. This species has a lifespan of up to 50 years and can reach a maximum length of over 3 metres. The beluga sturgeon is a predator and mainly lives in the sea. Mature sturgeons migrate upstream to reproduce in freshwater to then return back to sea. Unfortunately, the beluga sturgeon is listed as critically endangered due to the overfishing of this species.  Fisheries for beluga sturgeon mainly target the eggs for expensive caviar. Nowadays, the Beluga sturgeon is also used for aquaculture in order to harvest the eggs.

Beluga (caviar)

Huso huso

Black Sea (FAO 37.4)

Farming- / Catch method

Net pens/ Cages

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Source usage
Impact on the environment
Final assessment
Explanation assessment

There is little information on farmed beluga due to the lack of transparency and illegal fishing and trade. There is also much uncertainty about the origin of the fish feed used. For this reason, the section on source usage receives an orange score.

By breeding the fish in cagesCages:
A cultivation technique with open cages in the sea, lake or river. They are anchored to the bottom and are standing in places sheltered for storm and high waves. Most salmon is grown in this type of culture system. Because the cages are in open connection with the surrounding water, the impact on the environment is high.
, the ecosystem is indirectly seriously affected by a concentrated quantity of excrement. In addition, this fishery has a relatively high incidence of farmed fish escaping. If these farmed fish mix with its wild counterparts, reproduction takes a serious risk. Furthermore, this species is susceptible to diseases and the chances of diseases spreading is high. The section impact on the environment receives a red score.

In the Black Sea, there are good regulations to protect the ecosystem and wild sturgeon populations from possible negative impact by the farms. Several incidents show that the enforcement of these regulations is not sufficient. The management component is scored orange.

The final assessment for this species is red. We advise to avoid consumption of caviar from the beluga sturgeon and to choose alternative fish.

Fish in season

This assessment concerns farmed fish. Therefore, the season is not important.

ASC label

Fish with the ASC label is farmed in a sustainable manner.

MSC label

Fish with the MSC label is caught sustainably.

Good fish

This fish is not being overfished or is being responsibly farmed, with minimal impact on the environment.

Second choice

This fish is a second choice. There are still some improvements to be made in this fishery or fish farm.


Do not buy this fish. It's being overfished or the way it's farmed or caught has a negative impact on the environment.


There is fish available of this species that is farmed or caught using high welfare standards.


GlobalG.A.P. certified farms are doing a step in the right direction in terms of sustainability. A few species with this label are getting a better score on the VISwijzer.


Organic standards are the strictest when it comes to fish feed. They also require certain measures for animal well-being.