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Taranetz's char (Salvelinus taranetzi)

This char species is similar to Arctic char. It is distributed in the eastern sector of the Arctic - east of the Kolyma River to the Bering Strait, and to the south to the Khatyrka River. It is also found in the western and Arctic Alaska - to the Mackenzie River. The anadromous form reaches the greatest abundance in the rivers, connected with deep clear lakes.

In Chukotka this char is numerous in the Ioniveem, Koolenveyem, and Seutakan Rivers. The resident lake-resident stocks are known to live in the same basins as the anadromous ones (the Lakes Koolen, Achchen, Mainypilgino, and Mainitz). Resident lake populations of this species also live in Lake Nuteneut of the Anadyr basin and in many waters of the Eastern Chukotka.

Unlike the Dolly Varden char, the species is only entering the rivers that are connected with clean, non-winterkill lakes. So, rather numerous stocks of the anadromous Taranetz’s char dwell in the Lakes Koolen, Achchen, and. The fact is that Taranetz’s char, like the sockeye salmon, breeds in the lakes, at the areas with the springs. The spawning takes place at the depth of 4-5 meters. Accordingly, in the Chukotka rivers, in the basin of which there are no suitable lakes, mainly the Dolly Varden char is breeding and wintering.

The anadromous Taranetz’s char in Chukotka can be very big. In the 1970s in the Amguema River, a 13,7-kg fish was caught. Char from the best lake-resident stocks can be up to 10 kg, but in small lakes they cannot become bigger than 0.8-1.3 kg.

The growth rate is slow: a five-kilogram fish is always older than 20 years, and some slowly growing specimens reach the weight of one kilogram only in 10-15 years. There are also dwarf chars, which become mature at the length of only 12-15 centimeters. These chars are some of the longest-living fish of the Far East — one lake-resident 2,5 kg fish was 37 years old! Only Siberian taimen and Kaluga sturgeon can exceed this respectable age. This char was caught in a small mountainous lake, which is under the ice for most of the year.

Ilya Sherbovich