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Our Sturgeons

The sturgeon or as scientists call it a living fossil has had slight changes throughout the millenia. Over the past 50 years, due to the increasing popularity of caviar, the stock of wild sturgeon has decreased dramatically. As such, certain species have been classified as endangered and are now being protected by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) which is an international treaty to prevent species from becoming endangered or extinct because of international trade.

The mere mention of the word “caviar” brings to mind fine moments of unbridled luxury.
But what is caviar, really?

Caviar is the slightly salted eggs of the female sturgeon.

At Thesauri following much testing and experimentation we concluded that sturgeon can easily adapt to the climate conditions of Greece. The sex of the fish is ascertained via ultrasound. The female sturgeon yields the precious eggs after more than a decade and these eggs weigh about 10-14% of its total weight.

Out of the 27 caviar producing species of sturgeon, Huso Huso is highly respected as yielding the best quality.

Having a large population of Huso Huso donors close to maturity, Thesauri is about to produce the notorious Beluga caviar.

We also harvest Acipenscer Gueldenstaedtii,the Russian sturgeon and Acipenscer Baerii, the Siberian sturgeon, species considered to be the best amongst those that are allowed to be harvested.

Russian Sturgeon

Maximum length: 236 cm; common length: 145 cm; maximum published weight: 115.0 kg; maximum reported age: 46 years. Short face, less than 60% of the length of the head. Rounded snout. Lower lip not continuous, interrupted at center. Simple barbel, closer to the nose than to the mouth. Color of back olivaceous grey, flanks lighter, and belly white. Five rows of scutes: dorsal 7-19, lateral 24-44 on each side, ventral 6-13 on each side, with lines of smaller stellate bony plates between the dorsal and ventral rows. Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 27-48; Anal soft rays: 16 - 35.

Acipenser gueldenstaedtii live in coastal areas and they prefer sandy beds and mudflats. Found in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov and Caspian Sea, entering all main rivers that empty into them (Don, Kuban, Danube, Dnieper (rare), Dniester). They feed on small fish, mollusks and crustaceans and reproduce in rivers from May until June.

Siberian Sturgeon

Length at first maturity: 85 - 90 cm; maximum length: 200 cm; maximum published weight: 210.0 kg; maximum reported age: 60 years. The back is light grey to dark brown colored. The belly color varies from white to clear yellow Extended snouts; four barbels in front of the mouth. Clearly slit inferior lip. Five rows of scutes: 10-19D, 32-59L, 7-16V. Small star-like scutes between the main ones.

Acipenser baerii is the typical kind of fish of the rivers of Siberia, up to Baikali Lake. Inhabits deep parts of large rivers, with moderate to swift current. Acipenser baerii can live up to sixty years and usually weighs less than 65 kgs. Near spawning periodicity. Spawning periodicity depends on the region and ranges from 1 to 3 years. Reproduction season begins in May and lasts until June, when the temperature ranges from 9 to 18° C. Acipenser baerii feed mainly on benthic organisms, larvae and amphipods.

At present natural stock has been reduced due to the fact that egg laying areas have been reduced by 40% due to damming. At the same time, abnormal oogenesis increases, probably due to chemical and nuclear pollution of water.

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