Media Releases

First-Ever Undercover Video from Canadian Caviar Farm Reveals Shocking Conditions

VANCOUVER—In the first-ever undercover look into a fish farm in Canada, video footage obtained by Animal Justice at a British Columbia caviar operation has triggered an investigation by animal welfare officials.

The undercover recordings were made by a whistleblower in November, 2023 at Northern Divine Farms in Sechelt, BC, which produces caviar (sturgeon eggs), and roe (salmon eggs). The footage shows appalling and potentially unlawful practices under federal and provincial laws, including:

  • Fishes stabbed repeatedly in their abdomens to check for egg maturity without pain relief
  • Workers using straws to sucking eggs out of fishes with their mouths
  • Cramped & filthy living conditions for fishes
  • Troubling deformities & injuries
  • Fishes thrown on ice & being killed by freezing to death, against industry guidelines
  • Salmons appearing to survive the slaughter process left thrashing on a bloody pile of ice

Northern Divine also keeps a seven-foot-long sturgeon named “Gracie” by the staff, one of several “broodstock” sturgeons who swims circles in circles in a small, filthy tank. Gracie has been used for breeding for nearly 25 years—calling to mind Kiska, the “loneliest whale in the world” who died last year in Ontario after spending 40 years in a tank. Wild sturgeons like Gracie can grow up to six metres long, can live over a century, and are considered one of the most endangered animals on earth.

“Northern Divine is inflicting heartbreaking cruelty to fishes who are forced to live in crowded, barren tanks before being brutally killed—all to provide luxury caviar to the handful of wealthy consumers who can afford to eat it,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “Fishes can’t scream, but that doesn’t mean they don’t suffer—they’re sentient animals who can feel pain, and deserve better than to spend their lives in cramped, dirty tanks.

“Caviar is just like foie gras and veal—opulent foods where their decadence is outmatched only by their incredible cruelty. Most Canadians don’t eat caviar, and given the suffering involved in producing it, caviar production should be outlawed immediately across Canada.”

Based on its findings, Animal Justice has filed a detailed legal complaint with the BC SPCA, which is now investigating the facility. Animal Justice is also inviting Canadians to join its call for a total ban on caviar sale and production in Canada, and for laws on fish slaughter since there aren’t any.


To learn more about the practices of the secretive caviar industry we invite you to watch our video.  

Josh Lynn
Public Relations Manager
[email protected]

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
[email protected]