Many of the well-known traditional caviar producing countries are within the Caspian Sea and Black Sea region, such as Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. This doesn´t mean that only countries in this region are notable in the caviar market. China has for instance become a major producer of certain types of caviar, and the United States and Canada also have significant annual outputs. Italy produces around 30 tons of caviar per year, and France circa 25 tons. Germany, Bulgaria, Poland and Israel produce within the 5-20 ton span. Other examples of countries with caviar production are Spain, Belgium, Montenegro, Uruguay, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and Serbia.
In the early 20th century, Canada and the United States were the two major exporters of caviar to Europe, but today Canada´s production has decreased a lot. Many of the remaining producers are highly specialized, such as the Target Marine Hatcheries which makes organic certified caviar from sustainable sturgeon farms.
Today, roughly 60% of the caviar on the market is from China, where sturgeon farming is done on a large scale. The most famous example is arguably the man-made Lake Qiandao in the Zhejiang Province, where sturgeons are raised in pens for the caviar market.
In an average year, China produces around 40 tons of caviar.
Iran is famous for its high-quality caviar, which is very sought after on the international market. The major hub for the caviar business in Iran is Bandar Torkaman, a port city on the Caspian Sea.
The Italian caviar production used to rely on wild Adriatic sturgeons who lived in the River Po, but those populations dropped dramatically in the 20th century. Today, Italian caviar is almost always derived from sturgeons raised in pens, and the Brescia area in the foothills of the Alps just south of Austria is especially renowned for its caviar. Italy is a major caviar producer, with around 30 tons of caviar made each year.
There are kibbutzim in Israel that produce caviar, including the famous Kibbutz Dan by the River Dan which cultivates around 4 tons of caviar in an average year.
France produces around 25 tons of caviar per year, making it one of the larger players in the caviar market. A lot of the fish is raised in pens, to preserve the wild European sturgeon populations.
Saudi Arabia does not have a coast to the Black Sea or the Caspian Sea but established domestic caviar production in the early 21st century. The first harvest occurred in 2007, and the country now produces around five tons per annum.
By the early 20th century, the United States had already become a big exporter of caviar to Europe. Most of the caviar came from Lake sturgeons in the Midwest, and from Shortnose sturgeons and Atlantic surgeons living in rivers connected to the Atlantic Ocean.
Today, it is instead California, on the west coast, is the main producer of caviar in the United States. Roughly 75% of the U.S. caviar is from California.
There are no wild sturgeons or paddlefish in Uruguay, so all the Uruguayan caviar comes from captive-bred fish.