8 Arrests Made in Bay Area Caviar Black Market Investigation

Photo by Madeline Wells

An investigation into the California caviar black market is coming to an end.

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For the past few years, California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials have been investigating the black market for caviar in California. Today, the investigation is coming to an end with eight arrests, according to the East Bay Time.

Authorities say suspects illegally fished for sturgeon – the only species capable of producing what is officially classified as “caviar” – in the Carquinez Strait and Sacramento River. The green sturgeon is a federally protected and endangered species; the white sturgeon is “Special Concern”.

They believe the suspects illegally fished at least 36 sturgeon in two years. Middlemen would then buy the sturgeon eggs, process them into caviar and sell them to customers at a price well below the usual market value.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s lengthy investigation involved tracking phone calls from a San Francisco suspect and fitting a GPS device to his truck, and observing from an unmarked car another who was preparing poached sturgeon eggs to make caviar.

In addition to the poaching charges that several suspects face, Contra Costa County prosecutors are also pursuing conspiracy charges, which will raise the stakes for a potential crime.

“We take this seriously when poachers trade in our wildlife, and we will continue to do all we can to bring these individuals to justice,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Enforcement Division of CDFW. the law. East Bay Time.

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