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Acipenser With recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) facilities in both eastern and western North Carolina, Marshallberg Farm is the largest producer of Russian sturgeon and Osetra caviar in North America.
Our farm adheres to U.S. environmental standards, proudly producing superior quality Osetra malossol caviar and sturgeon meat through sustainable aquaculture of Russian sturgeon (gueldenstaedtii). Our American caviar is pure, containing only sea salt and the finest hand selected Russian Sturgeon roe.
Marshallberg Farm | Russian Sturgeon & Osetra Caviar Producer
Marshallberg Farm owns and operates two Russian sturgeon farms in North Carolina: Marshallberg Farm on the central coast, and LaPaz in the mountains, about 300 miles apart. The two farms are similar in size (each about a million gallons of culture water), both are indoor re-circulating aquaculture systems (RAS), and each has processing facilities for caviar and meat. Together, these facilities make up the largest producer of Russian Sturgeon (Acipenser gueidenstaedtii) meat and Osetra caviar in North America. Marshallberg Farm has the capacity to annually produce 5-7 tons of caviar and 80 tons of raw sturgeon meat.
Marshallberg Farm is located on Core Sound near Cape Lookout on the Atlantic Ocean, about 12 miles east of Beaufort and Morehead City in North Carolina. The farm raises sturgeon in 40 indoor RAS tanks in two buildings of about 54,000 sq-ft in total. It also operates a 6,200 sq-ft processing building including five cold rooms, totaling 1,800 sq-ft, at various temperatures.
LaPaz (formerly Atlantic Caviar and Sturgeon), also an RAS sturgeon farm located in the mountains, near Lenoir, N.C. (about 77 miles from Asheville), had been owned and operated by North Carolina State University until Marshallberg Farm acquired it in 2017. This farm raises sturgeon in 36 RAS tanks in two building of about 50,000 sq-ft in total. It also has a separate building for staging and processing of meat and caviar.
Russian Sturgeon Aquaculture on Marshallberg Farm
Our state-of-the-art tanks and water treatment facilities are designed to recycle water so as to minimize wastewater and to produce caviar and meat of the highest quality. We do not use growth hormones or antibiotics, and we use the best feed on the market. In processing, we do not use any preservatives other than sea salt. Our facilities are equipped with everything needed to yield some of the highest quality sustainable seafood products on the market, including our farmed Russian sturgeon and Osetra caviar.
Our farm adheres to the strict U.S aquaculture regulations of zero effluent discharge; we produce fertilizers by recycling waste water with woodchips for a community-supported agriculture (CSA) garden and promote aquaponics in holding ponds for growing vegetables. In this way, we proudly produce superior quality Osetra caviar and sturgeon meat through sustainable aquaculture practices. Our caviar is pure, containing only sea salt and the finest Russian sturgeon roe.
From Hatch to Harvest
The farming process at Marshallberg Farm begins with hatching the eggs, then growing the small juvenile fish in the company’s nursery tanks until they reach a size of approximately 600 g. At this time they are stocked into larger production tanks and are fed every two hours throughout the day. When fish reach a size of approximately 5 kg, males and females are separated, then grown further until they are ready to be harvested. Females are sampled prior to harvest using ultrasound and biopsy methods to assess egg quality. If quality is suitable for our caviar, fish are placed into separate tanks in crystal clear water in preparation for harvest. From the time juveniles are stocked until the caviar is ready to harvest from females normally takes at least five years.
Our Processing Facilities
Marshallberg Farm's pristine, state-of-the-art processing facilities are equipped with everything needed to yield some of the highest quality sustainable seafood products on the market, including our farmed Russian sturgeon and Osetra caviar.
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About Russian Sturgeon
Prehistoric survivors of the ice age, sturgeon are among the largest freshwater fishes in the world, with some individuals exceeding 2,000 pounds. Resembling aquatic dinosaurs, sturgeon may be one of the strangest looking fish swimming in our planet’s waters.
Sturgeons grow slowly and mature late, making them particularly vulnerable to man-made pressures, including overfishing, habitat loss, and pollution. Populations of valuable caviar-producing species have dropped to as low as 5% of historical levels worldwide. This is particularly evident in the Caspian Sea region, which has traditionally been the source of most of the world’s caviar. In fact, all species of sturgeon native to that region, as well as several from other continents including North America are currently listed as endangered or critically endangered.
Aquaculture for Conservation
Today caviar produced from aquacultured sturgeon greatly exceeds that produced from wild fish. In addition to being the primary source of caviar today, aquaculture of sturgeon is presently considered the most important component of wild sturgeon conservation programs because controlled culture decreases the need or desire for harvesting fish from remaining wild populations. Throughout the 19th century sturgeon was also abundant in North America including rivers along the East Coast, in the Great Lakes, and in the Mississippi River Valley. Sturgeon remains have even been found in Native American trash mounds along the Yadkin River in North Carolina.
Environmental Benefits of Sustainable Farmed Sturgeon
U.S. farmed sturgeon products are categorized as the “Best Choice” on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide. This certifies that there is little harm to other habitats or wildlife. Our sturgeon are raised from the eggs of domesticated broodstock; therefore, no wild fish are involved, and no raised fish escape into local waters.
Sustainable aquaculture is recognized as an important component of sturgeon conservation by many advocacy groups, including the World Sturgeon Conservation Society.
Health Benefits of Domestic Farmed Caviar & Russian Sturgeon Meat
• Excellent sources of protein and healthful Omega-3 poly-unsaturated fatty acids
• Contains vitamins A, B12 and E, calcium, selenium and iron which help to promote strong bones, teeth and a healthy immune system.
• Contains NO added hormones or antibiotics
• Safer from mercury and PCBs that are found in many wild fish