The U.N. this week lifted a year-old ban on the export of beluga caviar, the expensive roe from the endangered beluga sturgeon of the Caspian Sea. A U.N. agency that enforces the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, known as CITES, said the five countries that border the Caspian can export 3.7 tons this year, down less than one-third from the 2005 level. Environmentalists were aghast, noting that beluga fish stocks had dropped nearly in half that year. “The whole purpose of CITES is to allow trade only if there is a nondetrimental finding,” said Julia Roberson of the environmental group Caviar Emptor, “and this screams to me it’s detrimental to the fish.”
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