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Sturgeon have existed on our planet since more than 250 million years, thus being one of the oldest of fish on the earth. The family of sturgeon (Acipenserformes) consists of 27 species which are divided into two sub species: the actual sturgeon (Acipenseridae) with 25 species and 2 species of paddlefish sturgeon. Only a few sturgeon species are used for the production of caviar. DIECKMANN & HANSEN produces caviar of four these sturgeon species in own production.


The natural environment of sturgeon is the Northern hemisphere where they live in rivers and the sea. Many sturgeon are anadromous fish, viz. they swim for spawning from the sea up into the rivers. The main volume of fish can be found in the Caspian Sea as well as in the Black Sea.


In 1998 sturgeon were put on the list of the Washington Convention and trade with sturgeon and caviar was possible only under the rules and regulations of CITES. From then on sturgeon fishing was regulated by quota and the trade with caviar was controlled and regulated by particular marking and documentation rules. Since 2009 no fishing quota are granted anymore. Consequently since that time no caviar from wild sturgeon may be produced anymore but only the trade with caviar from aquaculture is permitted.

Therefore, at the start of their aquaculture activities, DIECKMANN & HANSEN rather invested in the spring fed pond fishery.


On September 10th, 1869 the barrel maker Johannes Dieckmann of Flensburg, together with his son-in-law Johannes C.F. Hansen founded the company “DIECKMANN & HANSEN” as a wholesale for salting fish. They worked with allsorts of fish, particularly with sturgeon caught in the river Elbe and its tributaries. Alongside with this of course went the trade with Caviar.

DIECKMANN & HANSEN was the first of the international caviar importers to plead the course of the protection of sturgeon and to look for a close cooperation with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Following this was the listing of sturgeon onto the list of the Washington Convention (CITES) and finally sturgeon catch from the wild was completely banned.

In 2003 the former employees in the management of the company, Werner Sager and Christian Zuther-Grauerholz, took over the enterprise.

After building up sturgeon stocks in aquaculture DIECKMANN & HANSEN could take up their own production of caviar again, from their own fish and continues its tradition today as the oldest caviar producer and trader of the world with a history of meanwhile 150 years.

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