State Seeks Ban on Sturgeon Fishing

State Fisheries Committee chief Andrei Krainy on Thursday called for a five-year moratorium on sturgeon fishing in the Caspian Sea, warning that the fish, whose eggs and meat are prized delicacies, faces extinction, Interfax reported.

Russia will ask the other Caspian Sea countries -- Iran, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan -- to stop fishing for sturgeon, Krainy said, Interfax reported. The impact on these countries' budgets "would not be large," Krainy told reporters, Interfax said.

Russia is ready to stop sturgeon fishing in the Caspian entirely this year. Only 24 tons of Russia's 50-ton annual quota allowed for scientific purposes is filled, because so few fish remain, Krainy said, Interfax reported.

Krainy said that the committee would submit draft legislation to the government Thursday declaring all sturgeon in the wild to be state property.