One of the most successful startup stories in the field of aquaculture begins in 1992
Karat Caviar’s story is an incredible true tale about an exceptional and rare delicacy and the people who brought it to the Galilee, in northern Israel. It is a story about passion, innovation, and entrepreneurship, the story of one of the world’s most exciting aquaculture startups.
Karat’s state-of-the-art farming facilities combine pure, untouched natural spring water and advanced technology, leading to a sustainable and highly productive enterprise.
Sturgeon raised in conditions closely approximating their natural habitat
Caviar Galilee’s innovative aquaculture startup was founded in 1992, when a team of devoted entrepreneurs and aquaculture professionals imported genuine Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) fingerlings directly from the Caspian Sea to a farm located in the North of Israel.
The Russian Osetra, one of world’s rarest species of sturgeon and the source of the world’s highest quality caviar, has been acclimated incredibly well to the ice-cold, pure Galilee water. The sturgeons are raised in conditions that closely match their natural habitat. Moreover, Karat’s ecological preservation specialists have succeeded in improving the environmental conditions in which the fish develop.
In 2005 first delivery of world’s finest product was made to the US market
The farm’s caviar business flourished in the early 2000s, when Caspian Sea caviar was banned and strict quotas were enforced on export of caviar. The window of opportunity for high-quality farmed caviar opened. In 2002 Caviar Galilee farm transferred all its resources to perfecting its caviar production, successfully merging traditional methods of sturgeon farming with new breeding techniques. The result is the distinctively delicious Karat Caviar, in full compliance with CITES regulations. Since 2005, Karat Caviar has been exporting to the U.S. market.
Nowadays, the Caviar Galilee aquafarm is one of the world’s foremost technologically advanced and environmentally-focused facilities of its kind. More than 500,000 Caspian sturgeons are raised here in natural, untouched and oxygen rich water.
The farm is located in close proximity to the main source of the Jordan River, the Dan Springs, which flow with crystal clear snow waters from the peaks of Mount Hermon. The water which gravitates through the site is considered drinking water - clear, pure and rich in oxygen.
The farm practices sustainable breeding process and has succeeded in creating meticulous breeding environment that enhances the conditions of the sturgeons’ natural habitat. As a result, Karat Caviar is an excellent example of the superb quality and taste achieved by breeding genuine Russian Osetra sturgeon. Born in captivity, the sturgeon is carefully cared for and therefor reaches maturity faster than in the wild. The fish are raised in a controlled, clean, and secure environment, making the quality of the caviar consistently first-class.
During breeding, the female sturgeon, which carry an average of two kilograms of eggs, are monitored to determine the size and quality of their eggs. The caviar is produced separately from each fish and every tin of Karat Caviar contains caviar produced from one single fish so that each tin contains the purest caviar, reflected in its remarkable color and taste.
A team of internationally-acclaimed biologists oversees the farm and its caviar production to assure sustainable conditions, individual quality and compliance to all international regulations.
Mr. Yigal Ben-Tzvi, CEO of Caviar Galilee, is one of the world’s sturgeon breeding pioneers. After Yigal had finished his studies at the Hebrew University’s Department of Agriculture, he returned home to Kibbutz Dan, known for its thriving fish farming industry, where he oversaw the breeding of fish. Yigal also conducted research, searching the world for fish species that he could adapt to the unique Israeli climate.
Among the fish he successfully bred in Kibbuts Dan were eels, various species of Salmonidae, and shrimp. In 1989, Yigal began his research on sturgeon, and in 1992 brought the first sturgeon to Kibbutz Dan.
Yigal initiated the sturgeon project in Kibbutz Dan together with Dr. Avshalom Hurvitz, now Karat’s R&D lead. Dr. Hurvitz manages all aspects relating to fish health, reproduction and nutrition. He holds a PhD fish biology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
As world caviar prices soared, the little farm in the Galilee entered one of the world’s most closed markets, and the Karat brand came to life.
From its very inception in 2009, Karat Caviar brand has served as a symbol of uncompromising quality. Karat markets fine caviar to the largest Caviar Houses in the world and enjoys an excellent reputation among top market professionals, leading restaurateurs and aficionados of this delicacy.