ISSN 10630740, Russian Journal of Marine Biology, 2010, Vol. 36, No. 7, pp. 548–561. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2010.
Original Russian Text © Y.I. Rachek, V.G. Svirskii, V.I. Skirin, 2010, published in Izvestiya TINRO.
The populations of all sturgeon species have
declined to an extremely low, sometimes critical level.
Fishing for sturgeon is prohibited everywhere. Today,
the only alternative method of obtaining the high
quality delicacy from these fish is domesticated pro
ductive stocks. High prices and the steady demand for
caviar have led many countries to organize specialized
farms for rearing female sturgeon of various species. A
new caviar line of productive sturgeon stocks has
arisen [16, 17]. The overall quantity of caviar produc
tion in the world does not exceed 100 tons per year,
while the total worldwide demand for this product is
estimated at 1000–1500 tons [3, 16].
In the late 1990s–early 2000s, many countries of
Western and Eastern Europe, Latin America, Israel,
USA, and China launched caviar production from
white, Adriatic, Russian, and Siberian sturgeon, Bel
uga, Sterlet, and Bester (a hybrid of Beluga and Ster
let), as well as other sturgeon species reared in artificial
conditions [10, 16, 18].
In the last 10 years, productive stocks of the Amur
Sturgeon and other sturgeon species brought from
western and Siberian regions of Russia have been cre
ated in cages of the warmwater farm of the TINRO
Center. Several more fertile hybrid forms have been
created on the basis of Amur Sturgeon species under
the conditions of the farm [12, 13].
Since 2003, researchers have been conducting
experiments to obtain caviar from various species and
hybrid forms of sturgeon. The technique of salting
ovulated eggs is protected by RF Patent no. 2268624 C1.
The caviar produced at the TINRO Center was
awarded the gold medal for “AllRussian Brand (3rd
Millenium). Quality Mark of the 21st Century.”
The size of caviar production here is about 200 kg
per year, but a project exists to increase it to one ton
Generative and Somatic Production of Female Sturgeon
at a Research Farm in Primorsky Krai as a Basis
for Manufacturing Gastronomic Caviar
Y. I. Rachek, V. G. Svirskii, and V. I. Skirin
Pacific Research Fisheries Center (TINRO Center), Vladivostok, 690091 Russia
Received February 12, 2010
—The generative and somatic characteristics of female sturgeon of five species and three hybrid
forms, which were reared at the TINRO Center’s warmwater cage farm at the north of Primorsky Krai and
used in caviar production, are considered. Data on the somatic growth, roe output, functional fecundity,
mean egg weight, and gonadosomatic index of the female Amur Sturgeon, Kaluga, Siberian Sturgeon of the
Lena and the Baikal populations, Sterlet of the Volga population, hybrids of Russian Sturgeon and Siberian
Sturgeon, hybrids of Siberian Sturgeon and Amur Sturgeon, and hybrids of Kaluga and Amur Sturgeon are
analyzed. The sexual maturity age and interspawning intervals are defined in the studied females. Domesti
cated females of all the species are shown to mature a few years earlier than those in natural conditions and
to have a greater body weight. The interspawning intervals shorten by a few years in domesticated females.
Most female Sterlet and some females from both populations of Siberian Sturgeon spawn annually, while the
remainder spawn once in 2 years. The interspawning intervals in two species of sturgeon that inhabit the Amur
River and in hybrid forms usually last for 2 years. With age, values of characteristics such as roe amount,
fecundity, mean egg weight, and roe output relative to body weight grow in females spawning for the second
time in the warmwater farm. The maximum roe output is found in female Kalugas at the second spawning.
Then the species follow in the order of decreasing of roe output: Amur Sturgeon, hybrids of Amur Sturgeon
with Kaluga, hybrids of Siberian Sturgeon with Amur Sturgeon, hybrids of Russian Sturgeon with Siberian
Sturgeon, Siberian Sturgeon of the Baikal population, Siberian Sturgeon of the Lena population, and Sterlet.
The hybrid between the Russian Sturgeon and Siberian Sturgeon shows the best processability and survivabil
ity characteristics; the Amur Sturgeon and Sterlet follow.
: sturgeon and their hybrids, warmwater farm, growth, maturation, interspawning intervals, roe
output, functional fecundity, egg weight, gonadosomatic index, processability, survivability.