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Smelt family

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The European Smelt

The European smelt is one of the main trade fish in Karelia. It is widespread in many lakes, including all large ones. The smelt is a small fish. The adult species have a brown-green back and silvery sides. The mouth is big with teethes. The collateral line isn’t completed. There is a fat fin on the body. The fish differs from other in specific cucumber smell.

In Karelian reservoirs there are two types of smelt: large and small. To the small smelt belong the following fish: Onezshskaya (the average weight – 9 grams, length – 11-12 cm), Pyaozerskaya (the average weight – 12 grams, length – 12,5 cm), Kuitozerskaya (the average weight – 6 grams), Ladozshskaya skerry (the average weight – 7-8 grams, length – 10cm). To the large smelt belong the following fish: Ladozshskaya river-lacustrine smelt (the average weight – 15-20 grams, the length – 25 cm), Sumozerskaya (the average weight – 15-20 grams). In some lakes (Vodlozero, Yanisyarvi, Suistamonyarvi) we can see smaller species of the smelt so called “snetok”. For example, in Vodlozero the smelt is only 2-3 grams at the length of 7-8 cm.

The smelt is a gregarious and coldwater fish. In summer as the whitefish it keeps to deep depths of open parts of lakes, goes down to low water lawyers at lower water temperature. It mainly feeds with ground Crustaceans, to a lesser extent – small whitefish and even its own youth. The smelt spawns on sandy-stony, rarely on sandy-slimy grounds, and after goes into deep depths. Its prolificacy varies within considerable limits: the Ladozshskaya smelt - 5-36,000 roes, the Onezshskaya – 4-13,000 (the average 7,000 roes).

The smelt catches use the same instruments as for the whitefish - stationary nets, seines, nets. The smelt is one of the main trade fish in our internal reservoirs.

The White Sea Smelt

The White Sea Smelt is very widespread in large lakes of Karelia, along the coastal zone of the White Sea. Besides the White Sea this fish also dwells in the south-eastern and eastern parts of the Barents Sea. In the White Sea it mainly can be seen in large gulfs – Kandalakshskiy, Onezshskiy, Dvinskiy, but along the eastern shoreline of the White Sea it is scanty.

The White Sea smelt is a half-passing fish. Its fattening is near the shoreline of the sea, for spawning it gets into rivers where it spends the winter. Spawning is in the end of April-May, quite often under ice or during floating of ice. To the places of spawning it doesn’t go far from mouths of rivers (large rivers, Severnaya Dvina, and small streams). Within Karelia the smelt often spawns in the rivers Von’ga, Pon’goma, Shuya, Suma, Nyuhcha.

The average prolificacy is 25,000 roes, the maximum – 110,000 roes. The smelt lives up to 7 years, reaching 25 cm lengthwise and weighting 190 grams (the average weight in catches is 40 grams). The trade meaning of the smelt among the fish of the White Sea is not great. It falls to the share of just some per cents.

The Capelin

The Capelin is the second representative of the family of smelts. The sea pelagian (dwelling in upper water lawyers and water thickness) fish is widespread in all northern seas of European and Asian continents.

The capelin is a coldwater fish, dwelling mainly in open parts of the sea and coming up to the shoreline zone only for spawning. Spawning is during summer, June-July, on sandy grounds and at different depths (from a few metes up to several tens meters).

Its lifetime is 6 years. It mainly lives on plankton, Crustaceans, some worms, and roes of cod. According to the catches the size varies from 12-16 cm weighting 15-20 grams.