STONY BROOK and NEW YORK, NY Research that used mitochondrial DNA-based testing to compare the extent of fraudulent labeling of black caviar purchased before and after international protection shows conservation benefits. A team of scientists from the Institute for Conservation Science at Stony Brook University and the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) repeated a market survey of commercially available caviar in the New York City area that was conducted before the protection was put in place, and the results showed nearly a 50 percent decrease in fraudulently labeled caviar.
"Testing the effectiveness of an international conservation agreement: marketplace forensics and CITES caviar trade regulation," published online on July 25 in the journal PLoS ONE, compared the results of two market surveys conducted 10 years apart. The previous market survey conducted during 1995 through 1996, before the listing of the sturgeon by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) came into effect in 1998, revealed that 19 percent of commercially available caviar in the New York City area was mislabeled with respect to species origin. When sampling the same market from 2006 through 2008, fraudulently labeled caviar occurred in 10 percent of the caviar, and only occurred in the samples bought online.
"The results of our analysis suggest that the international trade regulation of sturgeon products due to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species listing is having a positive effect in the marketplace," said Dr. Phaedra Doukakis, lead author, who was a senior research scientist with the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University at the time the study was conducted. "CITES is clearly an important tool for regulating trade and serves as an important complement to management in the regions where fishing occurs. More marine and aquatic sp
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The Institute for Ocean Conservation Science