By Vassily Smirnov
Doctor of Biology
Sturgeon - is an aboriginal of Baikal lake.
There is no place in the world where such a fish like sturgeon of "Sacred
sea" would live. Sturgeon is endemick, like viviparous mysterious fish
golomyanka and many other inhabitants of Baikal.
People began to fish Sturgeon as many other Baikal's fishes since ancient time -
since the time the Man lived at the lake. Ancient fishermen speared Sturgeons at
deep-water and at the stream they fished with the hook. Hooks made of bones and
claws of wild birds were bound to the stony rod (shaft) with the straps, tendons
or with hairs. Ancient Baikal fishermen used also nets made of hairs, animal's
tendons, and later - of vegetable fibres.
Judging by the bones the Sturgeons
were huge - from one meter to two in length.
However, there were not many
people who lived near the "Sacred sea", their fish tools were primitive,
they could not fish a lot, just for to live on. The real industrial fishing had
begun -three-two century ago. They fished up to five tons of surgeon in a year in
Baikal. They used river and lake seines (sweep-nets) in summer and put the nets
under the ice in winter. They fished Sturgeons of different size: on an average 4 - 10 kg,
but there were also very big ones: up to 100 - 130 kg. In 1911 they fished a huge,
prodigious sturgeon. "When they transported it on a cart, bound firmly and
covered with wet sacks so that to be kept alive till town, it's tail hang down for
half a meter:"
Fished sturgeons were kept in big weaved tubs before
transportation to the market or fair. In winter these tubs were kept under the
ice bound with a long rope. In winter they transported these alive goods to Irkutsk
by the ice on the sledge covered with wet moss. During such transportation men
saturated the moss with vodka so that fish staid longer alive - it fell asleep,
then awaked: In summer fished sturgeons were transported to Irkutsk on boats.
In the market they sold the sturgeon alive or sliced (cut). There were no scraps
(wastes) of sturgeon. They made caviar, valuable surgeon glue. We had such wealth
not so long ago - just 100-80 years ago:
At present, wonderful sturgeons
(by quality and price) are signed to the Red Book of rare and disappearing animals,
the industrial fishing of sturgeons is prohibited in Baikal.
Based on publications from "Wanderings time"