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SCOTT JAGOW: For the past year, beluga caviar has been a no-no. The United Nations banned the trade because beluga sturgeon in the Caspian Sea were running dangerously low. But yesterday, the U.N. lifted that ban. Some American businesspeople who you’d think might be delighted about this, aren’t. Ashley Milne-Tyte explains.
ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: A group of American chefs has written to the U.N. asking them to keep the beluga ban in place.
Lamar Thomas is one of them. He’s executive chef at East West Bistro in Athens, Georgia. He says about half of U.S. restaurateurs are concerned about dwindling fish populations, but only 10 percent take those fish off the menu.
LAMAR THOMAS: They’re afraid to take the risk. I started 12 years ago and I decide to spend most of my time researching for sustainable fisheries. I love food. I wanna have a job 10 years from now.
So he sticks to serving food that doesn’t threaten to become extinct. He says it’s part of a restaurateur’s job to educate customers, and that you can do that and keep them happy.
In fact, he says, if he served rare caviar or even swordfish at his restaurant, his customers would rebel.
I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.
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