Fish fly to UAE for world's largest caviar factory

Etihad Airways transports 22 sturgeon from Frankfurt, Germany

A sturgeon, which produces caviar.
A sturgeon, which produces caviar.

Etihad Airways has transported 22 adult sturgeon fish from Germany to the UAE as a key part of plans to build the world's largest caviar factory.

The airline said on Wednesday that its Crystal Cargo unit had flown the fish in from Frankfurt to Abu Dhabi, and then transported them to a fish farm in the emirate.

The fish were taken to a new 60,000 sq m state of the art farm which was recently commissioned for rearing sturgeons and the production of caviar in the UAE.

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Caviar is an expensive delicacy consisting of the unfertilised eggs, known as roe, of sturgeon brined with a salt solution.

Etihad's clients in the project were the UAE-based Bin Salem Holding and United Food Technologies, a German company.
Bin Salem and UFT are working together on the development of the caviar factory in Abu Dhabi.
AquaOrbis UAE will be the first caviar farm in the Middle East, and the largest controlled fish breeding and cultivation farm in the world, Bin Salem's website said.

AquaOrbis aims to produce high quality caviar that rivals the quality of the finest traditional imported varieties but "at significantly more affordable prices".

Roy Kinnear, Etihad Airways' senior vice president Cargo, said: "Etihad is proud of its reputation for carrying precious cargo and this now includes sturgeon fish which are on the list of global endangered species."

Each sturgeon was transported in a specially designed container in a temperature controlled environment which was always between 10 and 15 degrees centigrade.

Classic caviar comes primarily from Iran or Russia, harvested by commercial fishermen working in the Caspian Sea.
A specific species of sturgeon called beluga provide what many consider to be the best caviar in the world.

According to the website, Almas caviar comes from Iran making it extremely rare and extremely expensive. A kilo of Almas caviar is sold in a 24-carat gold tin for about $25,000.

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