Old Traditions, New Life: A Sustainable Behind the Scenes

Raising fish does not need to be dirty, crowded, or wasteful; it is simply convenient to do it that way. Persephone believes in doing things right, even when its challenging. We only source from éleveurs using sustainable rearing methods.

Persephone's requirements include: 

• Purifying and reusing water, rather than dumping used water into the environment. This is challenging and can be costly, but also has advantages for fish health. This method keeps water the same temperature throughout rearing and ensures fish are comfortable.

This is one step in the water purification process- a tank filled with beads coated with beneficial bacteria. As used water flows through these tanks, these microbes consume waste nutrients and clean the water.

• These rearing methods also minimize wasted feed. When fish are raised in net pens in rivers or the ocean, much of their feed falls through the nets and is wasted. This loss is eliminated in tank-raised fish.

• Fish must have enough space for good health. Sturgeon are sociable fish that gather in dense schools in the wild, and don't seem to be stressed by having many close neighbors. However each sturgeon has rows of sharp plates, and when overcrowded they soon have injuries from bumping into each other. Persephone personally inspects each éleveur and only sources from those where fish have clean, smooth skins and intact fins.

The final step in water purification in caviar élevage. Water cascades down a series of falls, allowing CO2 to breathe out and dissolving oxygen into the water before it returns to the fish tanks.

• Thanks to the dominance of poached & smuggled caviar after the fall of the Soviet Union, many suppliers in the caviar industry have ties to organized crime. Persephone sources only from éleveurs where leadership has no record of smuggling convictions, and do not use business practices associated with money laundering and other organized crime activity.

Many of Persephone's preferred éleveurs are those with ties to the aquaculture research community rather than traditional caviar trade. These operations are innovative, disciplined, and came to their work out of a passion for conservation and sustainable livelihoods.