Sturgeons ranging from
8 to 11 feet (2.5 to 3.5 m) in length are by no means scarce,
and some species grow to a much larger size. Sturgeon are bottom-feeders.
With their projecting wedgeshaped snout they stir up the soft
bottom, and by means of their sensitive barbels detect shells,
crustaceans and small fishes, on which they feed. Having no teeth,
they are unable to seize larger prey.
like England, where few sturgeons are caught, the fish is consumed
fresh, the flesh being firmer than that of ordinary fishes, well
flavoured, though somewhat oily. The sturgeon is included as a
royal fish in an act of King Edward II, although it probably but
rarely graces the royal table of the present period, or even that
of the lord mayor of London, who can claim all sturgeons caught
in the Thames above London Bridge. Where sturgeons are caught
in large quantities, as on the rivers of southern Russia and on
the great lakes of North America, their flesh is dried, smoked
or salted. The ovaries, which are of large size, are prepared
for caviare; for this purpose they are beaten with switches, and
then pressed through sieves, leaving the membranous and fibrous
tissues in the sieve, whilst the eggs are collected in a tub.
The quantity of salt added to them before they are finally packed
varies with the season, scarcely any being used at the beginning
of winter. Finally, one of the best sorts of isinglass is manufactured
from the airbladder. After it has been carefully removed from
the body, it is washed in hot water, and cut open in its whole
length, to separate the inner membrane, which has a soft consistency,
and contains 70% of glutin.
Above Images Come From U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service