17:24 GMT +320 July 2018
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    Russia may ban distribution of sturgeon, caviar

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    MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti) - Documents have been prepared to ban the sale of sturgeon and their caviar and to toughen measures against poaching, Astrakhan Regional Governor Alexander Zhilkin said Tuesday.

    "A presidential resolution has been prepared to ban the sale of sturgeon and caviar in street markets," the governor told the press after a State Council session. "An amendment to the law on licensing that toughens the rules of obtaining licenses for catching sturgeon and a government resolution on fishing control that stipulates stricter criminal responsibility for poaching and illegal catching of sturgeon and production of caviar have also been introduced."

    The documents have been evaluated and submitted to the government and the presidential administration, the governor said.

    "Hopefully, they will be adopted early next year," he said.

    Earlier, Russian Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev said his ministry proposed introducing a state monopoly on the handling of sturgeon and caviar, including on wholesale distribution.

    Gordeyev said the country had already lost its position on the world market because of the illegal distribution of sturgeon and caviar.

    The agriculture minister also said it was necessary to make amendments to the law on wild life, in particular to introduce "a provision for the use of confiscated caviar and sturgeon when the return to their natural habitat is impossible".

    Gordeyev said put the official distribution of the coveted fish at 250 metric tons.

    "This is enough for ten large vans," he said.

    Russia exports very little of the fish's caviar, a delicacy, while Azerbaijani and Iranian rule the market.

    In July, head the Federal Agency for Fishery Stanislav Ilyasov said amendments should be made to 11 operating laws, four government resolutions and two presidential decrees to improve the country's fishing. He also said the Federal Agency for Fishery should distribute fishing permits in Russia.

    "The Russian Agricultural Agency issues licenses now," he said. "One agency does the controlling and overseeing and issues licenses. This is unacceptable."

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