- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
218

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
218
weighs 15 to 25 kilogrammes. It is found throughout
the Caspian, and goes up the rivers, especially the
Volga, to spawn in the following May ; each female
fish yields 80,000 to 800,000 eggs. Today about
200,000 young fish are also artificially hatched out
yearly. Of this kind of sturgeon about 300,000 to
400,000 are caught yearly, or up to 5,000 tons.
An ossetrina was brought up for us from one of
the vats and opened. It was full of roe in two long
thick strands on each side of the belly ; there must
have been quite a couple of kilogrammes of caviare
in this one fish. As is well known, caviare is pre
pared by stirring about in the roe with a small
stick or a spoon, until all the pieces of skin have
been tåken out and each gram is left free. It is
then ready to be eaten fresh and gets the highest
prices, especially that of the beluga, but also that
of the ossetrina and of the sevryuga. The ossetrina
caviare is generally lightly salted and pressed, so
as to be more easily sent away, and then it will
keep quite a long time. It is what is known as
payusnaya ikra.
The sevryuga or star-sturgeon (Acipenser stellatus,
Pall.) is usually much smaller than the ossetrina,
seldom reaching 2 metres length and 50 kilo
grammes weight. It is mostly 1 to i| metres,
weighing up to 12 kilogrammes. The great bulk of
this sturgeon swims up the Kura and the Ural
river to spawn, but many, too, swim up the Volga.
This sturgeon spawns in May and June, a female
fish laying from 35,000 to 360,000 eggs. Of late
years from four to five million artificially hatched

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