BASCOM, FL. (WTVY) - One Florida company has found a hook, line and sinker way to replenish the sturgeon population.
The Beluga Sturgeon is endangered and Sturgeon Aquafarms in Bascom is the only Beluga Sturgeon Farm in the U.S.
That is - if they don't have any more setbacks.
Sturgeon Aquafarms in Bascom, Florida is the only Beluga Sturgeon caviar farm in the country.
Beluga Sturgeons are known for producing the best caviar, but the process of milking the fish has been at a bit of a standstill recently.
"We are introducing something that we created here," said Sturgeon Aquafarms Senior Manager Robinson Orozco.
Robinson Orozco spends his days handling one of the world's oldest species of fish…
"This is a very old fish,” said Orozco. “The physiology is very interesting because it is not a bone fish. It's a Chondrichthyes fish, which means it has cartilage."
Sturgeons are 250-million-years-old and predominantly come from the Caspian Sea.
Several variations of the fish are endangered due to lack of fishing regulations and pollution.
Sturgeon Aquafarms has been open for 10 years and has already sent three shipments of fertilized eggs back to the Caspian Sea.
"[We received] congratulations from the prime minister of Azerbaijan saying that he never saw that. The last time he saw that was almost 50 years ago."
The unfertilized eggs are known as caviar, which is another facet of Sturgeon Aquafarms’ business.
A facet that has gone through a tough stretch lately.
"After Michael, we had a lot of fish ready to harvest the last year, but Michael came I said, 'No, I do not agree,'" said Orozco.
Hurricane Michael wiped out tens of thousands of sturgeons and the aquafarm itself is still recovering.
Orozco said they've been able to get their count back up to around 40,000.
And, they've been able to adapt.
"We harvesting other different species: the Sterlet, the Sevruga, but Beluga were are going to get at the end of this year,” said Orozco.
The caviar they milk from the Beluga Sturgeon can sell for as much as $200 an ounce.
Sturgeon Aquafarms is situated right on top of the Florida aquifer, which is what provides such clean and pure water for breeding.