A Process of Black caviar harvesting in Astrakhan Russia in 1960s [photos]

A Process of Black caviar harvesting in Astrakhan Russia in 1960s [photos]

Black Caviar is one of the most expensive foods in the world. In Russia it was a food and also an income source as Russia exported this delicacy abroad for gold and American currency. The price of one kilo of the stuff is worth around $2,000 and can reach $10,000 for the rare types of the caviar. As of now mostly the harvesting of this food is illegal in Russia, except if you growing fish yourself or there are some more exclusions from this rule. However thousands of poachers earn millions each year from illegal hunt for caviar. They dispose the whole fish bodies and get only the caviars. Each year the chances to get it become less and less as only fish who is 15-20 year old can have caviar inside itself and poachers destroying tens thousands of those old fishes every year.

However in 1960s there were plenty of fish and harvest was official. Here are some photos of the process made by an American photographer while his trip to USSR:

A Process of Black caviar harvesting in Astrakhan Russia in 1960s [photos]

Even in USSR they could harvest the caviar only during two months in each year.

 

A Process of Black caviar harvesting in Astrakhan Russia in 1960s [photos]

This is a sturgeon fish which produce black caviar.

A Process of Black caviar harvesting in Astrakhan Russia in 1960s [photos]

Many teams of fishermen were coming from Kazakhstan which was part of USSR at the time.

A Process of Black caviar harvesting in Astrakhan Russia in 1960s [photos]

Soviet state factories were founded to harvest fishes like this one named after Kirov.

A Process of Black caviar harvesting in Astrakhan Russia in 1960s [photos]

At first they stub the fish with clubs in the water (on the picture above men standing in the left part of the pic) then send it to the factory for butchering. The caviar should be taken of a live fish in order it to protect its taste and flavor.

A Process of Black caviar harvesting in Astrakhan Russia in 1960s [photos]

The butchered fish which has already caviar removed waits to be frozen further and sold. Poachers discard those.

A Process of Black caviar harvesting in Astrakhan Russia in 1960s [photos]

Here is a butcher woman opens stomach of still alive fish and removes the caviar.

A Process of Black caviar harvesting in Astrakhan Russia in 1960s [photos]

A Process of Black caviar harvesting in Astrakhan Russia in 1960s [photos]

Before packing caviar into the steel tins it needs to be filtered and inspected

A Process of Black caviar harvesting in Astrakhan Russia in 1960s [photos]

Here is a final inspection before packing into those famous tin cans. All this caviar is going to be exported and sold abroad.

A Process of Black caviar harvesting in Astrakhan Russia in 1960s [photos]

A Process of Black caviar harvesting in Astrakhan Russia in 1960s [photos]

Probably a few million dollar worth of a caviar on one photo.

 

4 thoughts on “A Process of Black caviar harvesting in Astrakhan Russia in 1960s [photos]”

  1. Enlighten me, I beg you.

    Is there no way to harvest even a portion of the eggs without killing the fish?

    Is it simple, stupid convenience, that dictates this incredible waste?

    Thank God we do not have to do this with cows every time we need some cheese, milk, yoghurt, or….

    I confess, as an unreserved capitalist, the idea of a happy ‘herd’ of sturgeon, gently milked and… Well.

    You get the idea.

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