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Last Updated: Friday, 23 December 2005, 01:54 GMT
Russians told to stay off caviar
File photograph of a tin of caviar
Caviar is usually a must for Russian holiday celebrations
Environmentalists have called on Russians to give up a holiday dining favourite - caviar.

The World Wildlife Fund for Nature says Caspian Sea sturgeon, who produce the prized fish eggs, are on the brink of extinction because of over-fishing.

"Citizens, don't buy caviar! This is not such a vital product in our life," said the WWF's Alexei Vaisman.

By not buying caviar "you will not give your money to the mafia... and you will save the sturgeon," he said.

Russia, along with Iran, is the world's largest caviar exporter.

Conservation groups have warned that caviar poaching and illegal caviar trade is flourishing in countries where it is produced.

The US has banned all trade in the beluga sturgeon's caviar and meat from the Caspian Sea, and in October it banned imports of beluga caviar and sturgeon from the Black Sea.

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