The Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baerii) produce medium-sized eggs and the caviar range in colour from brown to dark grey.
The Siberian sturgeon is present in all of the major Siberian river basins that drain northward, including Ob, Yenisei, Lena, and Kolyma. It also lives in the Irtysh river in Russia, China, and Kazakhstan. The species is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List 3.1.
Due to the name, many people assume Siberian sturgeon caviar always comes from Russia, but in reality, China and the United States also have major production of Siberian sturgeon caviar. The fish is not native to the United States but is raised on fish-farms there, and farmed Siberian sturgeon caviar is also available from China.
Eating Siberian sturgeon caviar
Generally speaking, buying Siberian sturgeon caviar will cost you less than getting Beluga and Ossetra caviars.
Siberian sturgeon eggs are medium-sized and the caviar range in colour from brown to dark gray.
When you eat Siberian sturgeon caviar, make sure you enjoy the pop in your mouth, because it is excellent. The caviar texture is rich and creamy, and the flavour composition contain elements of sweetness and nuttyness which contrast nicely against the salt. In general, Siberian sturgeon caviar is a bit more briny than Beluga, Sterlet and Sevruga.
The Siberian sturgeon
- Order: Acipenseriformes
- Family: Acipenseridae
- Genus: Acipenser
- Species: Acipenser baerii
This species of sturgeon needs to be quite old before it starts spawning, which makes it especially volnurable to overfishing. Males typically start spawning when they are 11-24 years old, while females aren´t ready until they are 20-28 years. The oldest Siberian sturgeon on record was circa 60 years old, and the maximum weight recorded for a Siberian sturgeon is 210 kg.
The Siberian sturgeon populations began showing strong signs of decline as early as the 1930s. Overfishing is not the only problem; hydropower dam constructions that block the sturgeon´s accesss to its natural spawning ground are also having a negative impact. As if this is not enough, many of the rivers where Siberian sturgeons spawn are heavily polluted. Serious reproductive abnormalities have been reported from both Ob and Kolyma, where many of the female sturgeons of fertile age are either completely sterile or have diminished reproductive ability.
- The subspecies A. b. baerii lives in the mouth of the River Ob during the winter season, and migrates upstream in spring to reach its spawning grounds. It is a journey to thousands of kilometers.
- The subspecies A. b. baicalensis lives in the northern part of Lake Baikal, and migrates up the River Selenga to spawn.
- The subspecies A. b. stenorrhynchus lives in rivers in eastern Siberia, and some members of this subspecies do not migrate to spawn.