“I am happy to have had the chance to grow up close to the shore of the Danube River, and to have lived in harmony with the flow of its course. Ever since a very young age I loved nature, especially fish, as my father and brother were often going fishing. I may even say that fishing was ‘my first love’,” explains Marilena, who subsequently left her native land in pursuit of furthering her studies and developing a career.
“I decided to study International Economic Relations and have followed up with a master’s degree in Commercial Business Management,” she continues. “After a few years of experience, particularly in 1993, I came back to ‘my first love’ – starting a business with fish, seafood, and also caviar. There, the stories of my childhood, of 3-4 meter-long sturgeons, weighing hundreds of kilograms, were becoming my day to day reality.”
Soon, along with a team of like-minded people, Marilena opened five luxury shops in the central areas of Bucharest specializing in the sale of high-quality caviar, seafood, and fish. After a successful run, the business began importing numerous seafood products, which led to the launch of a processing facility. From this facility, the company was able to expand its reach and secure its sales through the distribution of its products to Romania’s most important hypermarkets (e.g., Metro, Carrefour).
The company’s caviar trade began in 1993 when it started to export small quantities of caviar obtained from wild sturgeons in the Danube River, and this is when the brand “Danube Caviar” was created. However, Marilena and her team soon discovered that these precious species, which date back over 200 million years, were on the verge of extinction, and they began working on a sturgeon aquaculture farm in order to preserve the wild sturgeon species.
Dr. Maereanu explains the company’s dedication to protecting the wild sturgeon, “Through aquaculture farming, we were able to continue our caviar commerce activities while responding to the requirements of the market without harming wild sturgeon populations. In addition, to this day, we also engage in sturgeon restocking campaigns, in order to aid the conservation of the species in its natural habitats.”
“Moving on, I began to understand the importance of obtaining a caviar quality that reaches that of wild sturgeons’ standards, which is why I started being proactive in a series of research projects and continued my studies in order to specialize in this field. Therefore, in 2011 I graduated with a Ph.D. in Sturgeon Breeding and Farming Technologies,” says Marilena
“In this time, I have learned that the most adequate environment to grow sturgeons in is the very same from where they originate. We have taken initiative in this sense and started growing our sturgeons in floating cages in the Danube River. Along with providing them conditions alike those of wild sturgeons, we took advantage of our location by also extracting caviar from the first generation of aquaculture sturgeons, which resulted by directly breeding wild Danube sturgeons. Thus, we can now guarantee that the quality of our caviar rises to the highest market standards, enabling our clients to enjoy that highly sought-after, authentic caviar aroma,” continues Marlena.
Danube Caviar’s dedication to producing the highest quality caviar is what further defines the business’s vision, which includes the expansion of the company’s global reach, allowing it to satisfy the requirements of even the most exigent of fine foods consumers.
Through her work at Danube Caviar, Dr. Maereanu has realized her skill and passion for her trade, which has now become a family business, she explains: “During this time, I have raised two wonderful daughters, one of which, to my great happiness, is now actively engaged in our family business. Merging my passion with great consistency and dedication, I have managed to make all my dreams come true.”
To find out more, visit Danube Caviar’s website.