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Babies of Big Beluga

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By Saule Tasboulatova

 Last Sunday the big beluga fish caught at the beginning of this month by fishermen of Amangeldy fishing cooperative began having labour contractions (see “The Day of Big Beluga Fish”. WKT #15, 11. 04. 2013). Unfortunately, the personnel of the Kourilkin sturgeon-breeding plant from the very beginning forecasted that the labour for 300 kg weighing beluga would be unpromising. In addition, the fish received several traumas during transportation and they couldn’t save its life. 


The only satisfying fact was that it turned to be truly “gold”: more than 41 kg of caviar was recovered from its belly (on the black market 1 kg of beluga caviar costs 200 thousand tenge). 

All recovered caviar was used for reproduction. In about two months’ period 500-600 thousand hatchlings of beluga will be released into the river.


The same morning two more sturgeons were “delivering babies” at the plant. The delivery process went well. The experts managed “to milk” each of those sturgeons and keep them alive. The total weight of received caviar was 8.5 kg.

The “milking” day for all three fish was calculated in advance. According to Gilman Sarsemaliev, the director of the sturgeon-breeding plant, the water temperature in the pool for spawning of beluga and sturgeons was just right - 13 degrees of heat.

The Russian colleagues from Astrakhan also arrived here to help with the labour. They brought with them some equipment, including ultrasonic devices.

Meanwhile, the most important process – the labour of beluga began. Holding it by its chest fins and tail, the skilled “obstetricians” of the plant started the milking process. A stream of black roe started to pour down into a white bowl. But soon the process has stopped.

-  There are practically no internal fluids left, - concluded the experts.  -  The water broke. Therefore, the caviar is coming out with difficulty.

The experts used pincers trying to help beluga to deliver. And soon the caviar started to pour down to the bowl. The caviar was divided into 1kg portions and prepared for further insemination.

Insemination of 1 portion requires 10 milliliters of sperm that is diluted in water and poured into the bowl with caviar. The liquid is then mixed for 3 minutes, thus, helping the sperms to get into ovum. Impregnated caviar is placed into incubators for further maturing. In 10-12 days, depending on the temperature, the first hatchlings will appear. When they grow up a little, they will be released into the ponds. If everything goes well, then the Kourilkin plant this summer will be able to release half a million of baby belugas born from the only female fish caught in the Ural River this year.

April 25 2013, 18:02

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