Salaka — small fish from the herring family. Representative of the Atlantic group, belongs to the species of the Baltic herring. Schools of fish can be found both in slightly saline Baltic waters and in fresh water of the Gulf of Finland, Curonian and Kaliningrad. It is found in fresh lakes in Sweden and Germany. Salaka is a commercial fish. In the Baltics, it accounts for half of the year-round catch.
Salaka — a bright representative of the Atlantic herring, from which it differs only in size. It has a classic for this group elongated body of dark blue color and a convex silvery-white abdomen. The skeleton has 55 vertebrae. The length of the Baltic herring ranges from 14 — 20 cm, weight of adult fish 50 g. There are large specimens — giant stremlings their length reaches 35 — 37 cm, weight can exceed 100 g.
The large head of the fish is up to 25% of the length of the carcass. Small eyes reach a diameter of 1.5 cm. The mouth of a herring is medium in size with small, sharp, well-developed teeth. The upper jaw ends at the midline of the eye. The rounded abdomen has a weakly pronounced keel formed by 15 fairly large scales. Dorsal fin formed from 19 bony rays, anal fin from 17.
The main habitat of Baltic herring is shallow, slightly saline water areas of the Baltic basin, as well as adjacent bays with fresh water: Finnish, Kaliningrad and Curonian. Salak locations adhere to the pelagic zone of the sea or bay. Fish are very sensitive to the change of seasons. Any weather changes affect the behavior and location of the pack relative to the regional depth.
In the spring, herds of herring stick to the upper layers of water bodies. In summer, with excessive water heating 16 — 18 degrees change location and descend into water regions with a lower temperature. In winter, flocks move far from the coastal zone and stay in the bottom water layer. As a rule, it does not migrate over long distances, but periodically travel from the open sea to the coastal area and back.
The temperature regime of the sea and the geography of the water area has a direct impact on the life cycles and behavior of this fish species. So the natural life expectancy of representatives of the northern Baltic locations on average reaches 11 years, puberty begins at 3 & # 8212; 4 years. Representatives of the southern waters of the Baltic Sea live less, on average 6 — 7 years old, sexual maturity is reached at 2 — 3 years.
Baltic herring are grouped into flocks and form local shoals. Each grouping has a clear reference to a specific geographical area of the sea, lake or bay. Each separate location of the population has individual spawning periods, the range of which can be shifted and depends on weather conditions. According to spawning time, herring is conventionally divided into two categories: spring and autumn.
Most of the herring population belongs to the spring race. Spawning occurs from May to June. Spawns in the coastal zone at a depth of 5 — 6 meters. The nest for spawning does not cook, it looks for recesses near the stones, where the eggs settle. On average, the female lays up to 10.5 thousand tiny eggs at a time, which ensures the survival of the species and the safety of the population. After the spawning period, schools of Baltic herring go to the open sea.
The autumn race is rather small. It is its representatives that are distinguished by their large size and high growth rate. It is considered a separate subspecies of the fast-growing herring. Spawning begins in August and continues until the end of September. It spawns in the open sea at great depths. Autumn fry are usually much larger than spring fry. The surviving and grown fish gather in schools and go on their first journey.
Caviar, fry and adults of herring are the basis of the food chain for many Baltic fish. Representatives of small species — bobbins and eelpouts eat eggs and fry. For large fish such as salmon and cod, herring meat is the basis of the diet. Baltic herring often become victims of lampreys. Big brothers are also dangerous — giant aspirants that lead a predatory lifestyle and eat small tribesmen.
The basis of the nutrition of ordinary Baltic herring — aquatic plants and zooplankton. Representatives of the Baltic herring love to feast on small copepods and cladocerans, various larvae and invertebrates that live in the middle water layers. Sprats and sprats are competitors in the struggle for food resources. Giant stremlings — predators eat bobbin, fry and even small individuals of their own species.
The Baltic herring is caught year-round, mainly in the coastal zone. Both on an industrial scale with nets, casting nets and traps, and by amateur fishermen with a regular fishing rod or multi-hook tackle. At the heart of the catch is individuals 2 — 4 years old, long carcass 12 — 20 cm. Half of the fish caught is preserved, the other half is sold fresh-frozen and chilled.
The nutritional value of the Baltic herring depends on many factors such as habitat conditions, cooking method, catch season. Autumn herring, larger and fleshy, is considered the best option for harvesting. With the regular use of herring, due to the content of vitamins and fats in its meat, the body's performance improves, blood pressure normalizes, cholesterol levels decrease.
Salka is a tasty and healthy fish, which is dynamically used in the food industry. Many main dishes are prepared from it, including snacks and salads. Salaka is equally good fried and baked, smoked and salted. Due to the fact that herring does not have small bones, it is suitable for feeding children. Fish meat is rich in B, C, E, PP vitamins and fatty acids. Well absorbed by the body.