Sturgeon black caviar in can on white marble background
What's The Difference Between Caviar And Fish Roe?
By Jennifer Sweenie
Many people use the terms fish roe and caviar synonymously. The varying labels, colors, and sizes of the salty bites you see on shelves and menus only add to the confusion, but there is a marked distinction between the two.
Fish roe refers to the sac of fully-formed, unfertilized eggs inside the womb of a female fish, but for fish eggs to be considered caviar, they must come from a sturgeon fish; so, even though caviar is fish roe, not all fish roe is caviar. Another marked difference is how the caviar is prepared, as fish roe is fresh fish eggs, and caviar is salted and cured.
Varying label laws from country to country add to the confusion because, in some areas, any type of fish roe may wear the caviar crown. Organizations, including the United Nations, have joined forces to try and establish rules around the terminology, but caviar is often used on labels even if the eggs are not from a sturgeon, which is why you may come across salmon or trout caviar.