NATURE / Fishes

About 50 fish species live in the Curonian Lagoon including the most common such as: roach (Rutilus rutilus), perch (Perca fluviatilis), redeye (Scardinius erythrophalmus), white bream (Blicca bjoerkna) and common bream (Abramis brama). Bream is very fearful during spawning. If frightened, it might never return to its native area. This is why it was prohibited to sail during spawning or ring a church bell near bream territory.

Anglers are happy to catch pike (Esox lucius) or, if they are lucky, a bigger pike-perch (Lucioperca lucioperca) and eel (Anguilla anguilla). It is very popular to go for smelt (Osmerus eperlanus) in the winter season. Before going upstream to the River Nemunas for spawning in spring, they gather together in the Curonian Lagoon. During second half of winter, they start to smell like fresh cucumbers because of special glands on their bodies.

Sometimes fishermen catch rather rare fish species such as whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus lavaretus), Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and sea trout (Salmo trutta trutta), which are on the Red List. Sea trout makes gravel "nests" up to 1 m in diameter for spawning. It can crossbreed with trout species and sometimes with salmon. The crossbreeds are of great vitality. Sea trout comes from the Baltic Sea to the Curonian Lagoon for spawning and later returns to the sea.

Another species included on the Red List - twaite shad (Alosa fallax) - also spawns in the Curonian Lagoon. It is very sensitive to water pollution. Therefore its population significantly decreased recently. It is prohibited to fish for it by any mean a round year.
Long three-sided fishing nets are scattered in the entire Curonian Lagoon. But one kind of fish is rarely caught with them. It is called sabre or rasor fish (Pelecus cultratus). It usually jumps over nets. The spawning is very active and noisy - fish are jumping, cruising in small circles; it looks like the water is boiling. Sabre fish are rather common in Lithuania, but the Curonian Lagoon is the most favourite their habitat.

In spring fishermen go to the Baltic Sea for plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) and turbot (Scophtalmus maxima). The latter grow up to become predators and sometimes, as sharks, they eat inedible things like plastics and rubber. Turbot meat is very valuable: low in fat and no fish smell or taste.

This is a small part of the fish species living in the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea.

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