Siberian Caviar from Mote Caviar
Mote Marine’s Siberian Sturgeon Caviar Combines Quality with Sustainability.
SARASOTA, FLORIDA – Mote Marine Laboratory is unique among the producers of Browne Trading’s farmed caviars: they are an independent, nonprofit marine research organization for whom caviar is really a wonderful byproduct of their commitment to ongoing enhancements of marine aquaculture.
Established in 1955, Mote’s mission is one of pure research and education. In addition to their Aquarium (featuring over 100 species of marine life) and a multitude of public Educational Programs, Mote’s seven centers for scientific research includes Florida’s largest sustainable aquaculture production laboratory—and the largest re-circulating aquaculture research facility in the United States. This facility serves as a test bed for a variety of research products focusing on creating environmentally sound technologies to raise marine and freshwater species for restocking efforts and for human consumption. Located 17 miles from the coast , Mote’s aquaculture farm employs innovative water recirculating and filtration systems to reduce water usage and waste, lower productions costs, and demonstrate and document the economic feasibility of creating large scale production of food fishes and fish stocks, regardless of access to the ocean or other large bodies of water.
Sturgeon was a natural species choice for Mote to select to raise—not only do species such as the Siberian Sturgeon thrive in aquaculture conditions, but their eggs cured as caviar position the sturgeon as very high-value “crop” with appeal to not just a local or national, but global, economic demand. But Mote’s initial interest in raising sturgeon was not so much for profit but to culture Florida’s endangered native sturgeon for stock enhancement . However, federal authorities prohibited the culture of two key native Floridian sturgeon species—the Shortnose and Gulf. Undaunted, beginning in 1998 Mote imported various species of sturgeon endemic to Europe and investigated their suitability for culture in Florida. Results led Mote to focus on Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baeri)- an ideal caviar bearing species that has a high rate of reproductive success in aquaculture. Mote Siberian sturgeon are grown indoors where all parameters – from diet to water quality – are strictly controlled – allowing for consistency of flavor & quality. Rearing in laboratory conditions yields a self contained, completely renewable stock of fish—while allowing for continued research on nutritional impacts using live food vs. feed and the impacts of stocking density on stress and reproduction.
HERE IS AN INTERVIEW AND TOUR OF THE FACILITY with JIM MICHAELS, Director of Mote Marine & Caviar:
Captive Siberian Sturgeon take upwards of 5 – 7 years to produce eggs. In 2006, Mote reached a milestone with its first batch of caviar, and now anticipates upwards of two metric tons in 2011. Employing traditional handling, curing, and packing methods the caviar quality and price is based on egg size, flavor, texture and color characteristics. The roe produced is a consistent small to medium black pearl with a mild taste many compare to Caspian Sea Sevruga. These shimmering grains have a silky, slightly minerally and buttery flavor, are mild in saltiness, and finish with a clean, crisp pop favored by connoisseurs. Mote believes that each of these characteristics can be enhanced through the pre-harvest husbandry and post-harvest processing practices and have dedicate their research efforts to include developing techniques to modify these practices to produce a better tasting, safer product that has an extended shelf life.