Reference image of a sturgeon.

World-first BAP certification for sturgeon farmer

Published Last updated

A fish farm in Azerbaijan has become the first sturgeon breeding farm with a focus on caviar production to receive Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification.

The accreditation by BAP, which is operated by the Global Seafood Alliance (GSA), not only recognises the commitment of Azerbaijan Fish Farm (AFF) to sustainability but also solidifies its position as the world’s first sturgeon farm to be awarded the BAP certification.

GSA said that since its establishment in 2017, AFF has been at the forefront of innovative and responsible fish breeding and caviar production in Azerbaijan.

Mike Berthet, GSA’s market development representative in the UK, said: “We applaud Azerbaijan Fish Farm for becoming the first caviar farm to achieve BAP certification. This underscores their commitment to responsible practices and their dedication to environmental responsibility, social accountability, food safety and animal welfare.”

Old and new methods

AFF grew from one of the world’s first experimental sturgeon aquaculture farms established in the Neftchala district in 1954. In 2017, the farm was privatised.

According to the GSA, AFF’s approach to sustainable aquaculture seamlessly combines traditional and modern breeding techniques, exemplified by its utilisation of a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS), cage culture model, and advanced seaside tanks, ensuring optimal water quality and nutrition during incubation and early fish life stages and creating a stress-free growing environment.

AFF’s distinctive capability lies in its utilisation of both freshwater from the Kura River and saltwater from the Caspian Sea, a unique combination that mimics the natural habitat of sturgeons and is pivotal in ensuring the caviar’s quality.

The company is also committed to eco-friendly practices and conservation efforts. AFF organises fish release events, releasing 10 sturgeons for every jar of caviar sold, contributing to the preservation of highly endangered populations endemic to the Caspian Sea.