- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
244

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
244
fish floating everywhere, often tightly packed to
gether. Unluckily I could not get any ofthempicked
up for me ; but they looked to be of an ordinary,
middling size. What was the cause of all this
destruction I could not find out; but the captain
said that quantities of dead fish such as this were
sometimes to be seen in the Volga. It looked just
as if a great barge full of fish might have sunk,
and all the cargo have floated out of it. What
Professor Arvid Behning, director of the Volga
biological station at Saratov, tells me in answer to
my question is that there are two possibilities. It
may have been Volga herrings [Caspialosa volgensis),
which up to the end of June spawn in the lower
Volga up as far as Stalingrad (Tsaritsin, cp. p. 225).
They die wholesale after spawning, and it may be
that as late as the i4th of July wc met with
these dead Volga herrings, though hardly likely
in such great, compact quantities. The other possi
bility is that it was a result of the fishing for fresh
water fish ("white-fish", cp. p. 227), which starts
just at this time in the bays amd arms of the river.
It often happens then that the fishermen, through
lack of markets, or of salt, or for some such reason,
throw away great quantities ofdead or spoilt fish into
the river. As there are great fisheries in the part wc
were then in,near Cherny, it may well be that wc met
with dead fish of this kind. In this case they would
mainly have been various kinds of bream (Abramis
bratna, A. såpa, A. ballerus), blick [Blicca bjorkna), etc.
This agrees well with the look ofthe fish wc saw float
ing, and this explanation seems the most likely one.
Wc came to the German town of Sarepta, which

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