. . .the rather sad coda, of course, is that the native fisheries both in fresh and salt water are in decline precisely because of the appetites that led to their recognition as repositories of culinary delights in the first place
I remember reading, as a child, a book called 'An American Family in Moscow' which was the story of a year spent in Moscow by the family of an American diplomat. The head of the family was invited to a sturgeon feast held by the banks of a frozen river in midwinter. Bottles of vodka simply stuck in the snow to freeze were the main tipple and the centrepiece was a whole roasted female sturgeon from which enormous handsful of fresh roe were taken for the revelers. It was a once in a lifetime occasion, but the sad unseen side of the story is that the sturgeon probably took fifty years to reach the size she was at when they took her, and between the insatiable appetites of predatory humans and the collapse of the entire Caspian sea ecosystem, caviar- once so plentiful that British soldiers stationed in the Baltics complained of being fed too much of 'this 'ere fish jam' -is an impossible memory for most of us.
American paddlefish roe is pretty damned good though.