- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
226

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
226
and sometimes even much farther. Ofthese herrings
it is only a minority that falls victim to the poor
condition resulting from the migration and spawn
ing. The others go back to the sea, and may once
more go up the river to spawn, but they do not seem
to spawn more than twice. This herring matures after
three years, and does not live much over six. About
450 millions are caught yearly, weighing 1 50,000 tons.
The largest species of Caspian herring, the
"black-back" {Caspialosa kessleri), up to half a
metre long and weighing up to ij kilogrammes,
has already been spoken of (p. 105). It goes up the
Volga in early spring, and reaches Samara at the
beginning or towards the middle ofJune. It comes
to above the Kama and the Oka, and may go
another 1^290 kilometres up the Kama. The spawn
ing females are five to six years old, and spawn only
once. After the spawning they all, both males and
females, perish from exhaustion after the long
journey; and in the years when there have been
great quantities of them, it is said to be a wonderful
sight, when the high water falls, to see the dead
herrings hanging in huge numbers on the osiers and
the willow-bushes, now left dry. The fishing is mainly
in the arms ofthe delta, through which the fish swims
up. In 1911-15, 20 millions was the yearly catch,
but now it is very much less, for the quantity that
goes up is no longer so great. That number yielded
some 15,000 tons of salted herring; only a small
part, mostly tåken from the largest fish, is smoked.
Of importance also is the Caspian herring
(Caspialosa caspia) . Of this fish only a part goes up

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