Esturiones del Rio Negro S.A., aka Black River Caviar the first and only sturgeon farm in the southern hemisphere, was founded by the Alcalde family in 1990.
The founder, Mr. Walter Alcalde had more than 30 years of experience in the fishing industry and was the owner of Marplatense S.A., a family owned business that provides shipping vessels with supplies. During his last 30 years Mr. Alcalde had become very familiar with the main players in the fishing industries in the U.S., Europe, Russia, China, and Japan.
One of his main clients is the Russian fishing fleet in the South Atlantic Ocean. This provided him with an important list of Russian contacts; among them are Mr.Nicolai Medouchevki, special attache of the Russian Embassy in Uruguay, and Mr.Evgeni Miassitssched, in Rega, Letonia. Mr.Miassitssched is a Russian ichthyologist with vast knowledge in aquaculture. He headed the project that repopulated the Baltic Sea with Salmon.
Mr.Medouchevki and Mr.Miassitssched commented to Mr.Alcalde that Russian satellite studies had indicated that the Rio Negro of Uruguay is one of the two places in the world with the best ecological conditions for the production of sturgeon for caviar.
Mr.Alcalde studied the caviar market and discovered that there was a unique opportunity to develop a caviar farm due to the situation of the caviar world market where demand was soaring and production was diminishing. The intense controls put on illegal harvesting of sturgeon especially in the U.S., and the inclusion of the sturgeon on the endangered species list of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) were also a key element that made this project very attractive since sturgeon farms would be able to get CITES certification and easily enter the U.S. and European markets.
After various trips to Russia, Mr.Alcalde hired Mr.Miassitssched on a full time basis to develop the sturgeon farm and acquired all the necessary know-how and machinery directly from Russia.
This Project was initiated in 1990, the first importation of sturgeon spawns from Russia was in April of 1994, and the first production of caviar in 2001. This journey has taken the Alcalde family more than 12 years to go from the idea of the production of caviar to their first export.
This process may seem very long, but actually has been achieved in a very short time in caviar terms where a single sturgeon can take up to 20 years to mature and live to be more than 100 years old.
The unique eco system of the Rio Negro river and the vision of Mr.Walter Alcalde has permitted that today Uruguay is the 9th largest exporter of caviar to the U.S., ahead of France.
The sturgeons have grown in the basaltic waters of the Balgorria Dam. These basaltic soils are free of any type of pollution or contaminants creating the ideal ecosystem for their development in a 100% natural environment. This perfect ecosystem where the sturgeons breed is achieved by keeping them in floating cages that are in the main water flow with soft currents. The cages are 8 to 10 meters in depth. According to a Russian satellite study, the Balgorria lake is one of the few places in the world that fulfill all the requirements needed to breed sturgeons successfully. In our respect for the environment, all of our exports comply and are certified by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species)
Our strict control during the production process allows us to only select females in their most optimum stage to produce caviar. We do not store caviar. We produce it according to the needs of our clients therefore ensuring the freshest of caviar. You can count on the highest quality caviar coming from our farms. Our production process is certified and approved by the U.S. Government (HAACP) – The European Union (PP-34) – DIPOA, Brazil – DSENASSA, Argentina, Chile, Japan – DINARA, Uruguay as well as other regions.