Crusade to save "The living Dinosaurs"
The Yorkshire-based business venture that’s converted into a crusade to save “The Living Dinosaurs”.
- 2011: The story begins with a Yorkshireman and his son who became fascinated by the elegant albeit disappearing 250-million-year-old Sturgeon fish species killed annually to fuel Caviar production worldwide. The (Mark) son felt passionately that something should be done – especially after becoming aware of German research on and licensing of a “No Kill” approach to Caviar production. Rather, it advocated ongoing farming of fish stock versus seasonal extermination of millions of threatened fish caught annually.
Upon closer scrutiny of the Germans’ work, the pair realised their own commercially-driven input could improve production efficiencies to help create the UK’s first ethical and sustainable caviar for sale. Thus, was born KC Caviar, as the UK’s first “No kill” caviar farm with a sister company DariQus Ltd (DQ), formed to buy and thereafter control “No kill” licensing throughout Great Britain and the rest of the world excluding the USA.
The two Yorkshiremen brought over 30 years’ experience in corporate retailing including business within the aquatics sector to move such a venture ahead. Their focus would be on making a Caviar superior to the traditional variety exported by major international competitors. And they’d achieve this by applying hands-on methods of breeding and continuous working with more mature Sturgeon to yield larger and better-quality eggs for a distinctly British product dedicated to preserving rather than destroying its magnificent fish donors.
- 2012: Britain’s first “No kill” Caviar farm thereafter started up in North Yorkshire. At the outset it required several years of research and development work, to put the Germans’ academic approach into practice whilst designing the facilities required to achieve their overriding aim of “working with the fish” rather than resorting to slaughtering or maiming them as traditional methods mandated. To fund this period of production preparation, KC raised over £500,000of investment by issuing equity shares to drive the business forward.
- 2018: Some six years later, the KC farm recorded increased Caviar sales from a Supermarket deal with growth forecast to exceed £600k by 2020. However, the sudden and permanent loss of the farm’s first Managing Director due to severe illness significantly reduced KC’s income for that year and beyond although media and consumer interest in and demand for KC’s new “No kill” product continued to grow.
- 2020: By the end of 2019 a new MD had been put into place. But just as the farm’s business was re-stabilising before another leap forward, the COVID pandemic hit, negatively impacting the Hospitality Sector as a whole, whilst KC Caviar was further challenged by a devastating loss of Sturgeon due to an unavoidable relocation of the fish into a new facility.
- 2021: Indeed, after nearly a decade of committing to grow Yorkshire’s (and the UK’s) first “No kill” Caviar business, it had become abundantly clear to the founders, investors and staff that ensuring the safety, security and longevity of the magnificent Sturgeon fish involved had to be and remain the top priority – which compelled the business to reassess its long-term mission and vision.
- 2022: The war in Ukraine and rising cost of living prices has seen the UK Caviar industry struggling through this difficult time. This realisation, has resulted in a desire by the writer and his team, to preserve and apply all the company’s fish farming learning and experience to develop the world’s first Sturgeon Preservation & Education Centre, referred to as the SPEC. It is envisaged as a potentially highly visible public- and private-sector partnership project to help save the Sturgeon species from extinction. This Not-for-Profit venture will be designed as a centre of excellence to combine fish farming and Caviar production with International commercial tourism and aquaculture education. At the same time, it will be based on sound retail business, through Hospitality and Education. Although part of the Dariqus or KC businesses, this not for profit initiative will help KC and DQ deliver the message to the industry that Caviar customers are looking for an ethical and sustainable solution to Caviar production.
A fully costed proposal has been prepared ready for launch should the right partners come available.
John Addey Tel: 07523044404