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Far Eastern Grey Mullet: From the Sea of Japan to the Sea of Azov

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Far Eastern Grey Mullet in the Sea of Azov



One Version of Acclimatization

We would like to note that this fish lived only in the Sea of Japan, and in the second half of the last century it was successfully acclimatized in the Sea of Azov. Also, the grey mullet inhabits the Black Sea, many water bodies of Ukraine and Europe.

On the Molochny estuary, which belonged in Soviet times to the fish farm "Siny of the Sea", the scientific organization AzNIIRH had its experimental base. Here it was decided to place the main batch of young mullets in cages. Fish was supposed to grow to sexual maturity, and then artificially fertilize and get millions of young fish for release into the Sea of Azov.

In 1978, ichthyologist Genrich Grote decided to release one hundred specimens of mullet into the Molochny estuary unofficially . He did it at own risk, being well aware that he was violating a lot of things.

Liman Molochnyi

Liman Molochnyi

Females and Male

A year later, fishermen gave G. Grote the first three specimens of two-year-old mullets weighing from 300 to 360 grams. This testified that young fish successfully took root in the estuary. In April 1982, a team of illegal fishermen caught two spawning females weighing more than three kilograms, as well as one mature male in the Molochny estuary. Consequently, young mullets appeared as a result of the natural spawning of fish released into the Molochny estuary.

The Favourite Food of Grey Mullet - Nereis

Warm of liman

Warm of liman

What do you Know About Mullets?

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

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  1. From what family are mullets?
    • Family of deep marine fish
    • Family of coastal nmarine fish
  2. What is the size of this fish?
    • Medium is
    • Medium to large sized fish
  3. What is its maximum length?
    • 40 in is
    • 47 in is

Answer Key

  1. Family of coastal nmarine fish
  2. Medium to large sized fish
  3. 47 in is

The Problems of Water Levels and Salinity

The Molochny estuary is the spawning ground of the mullet, which comes here from the Azov Sea. Now the fish is actively going to spawn in the estuary. "Comes in actively," said fishermen.

Now the salinity in the estuary has decreased to the optimal values - 26 ppm, a little more in the upper reaches of the reservoir - 29-30 ppm. In the Azov Sea, the water salinity is 17 ppm.

The increase in water levels and decrease in salinity in the Molochny estuary was due to the permanent channel, which in late 2019 connected it to the Sea of Azov. Since then, experts have been monitoring the rise in water and decrease in salinity levels in the estuary. Previously, the channel was temporary. Because of this, several eco-disasters happened here. The most terrible one was in 2017, when there was a mass death of mullet, which could not return to the Sea of Azov due to the siltation of the scour.

Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography (YugNIRO), Odesa, Ukraine

Acclimatization of the Far Eastern red finned grey mullet Mugil soiuy Basilewsky, 1855 in the Azov basin was carried out in 1978-1985. In 1990, the spawning part of the population exceeded 10,000 individuals. A comprehensive study of this species, including seasonal migrations across the sea, is of scientific and practical importance. This aspect of the mullet's life was the purpose of Institute's studies.

The material was collected in 1997-2000 during research cruises of YugNIRO. During the accounting trawl surveys covering the whole sea area, about 200 trawls were performed annually with their uniform distribution in spring, summer, and autumn.

The distribution of this fish in the sea differs markedly by season. A decrease of water temperature below +7ºС is a signal for the formation of dense aggregations. They migrate to the open part of the sea, where the mullet migrates for wintering. Such aggregations are formed in the western part of the sea. In autumn and early winter of 1997, there were accumulations also near the Crimean coast. It is not typical for this season and is explained by relatively high water temperature - up to +10ºС. In autumn 2000, due to warm weather, no large aggregations were formed at all. Sparse shoals were found throughout the whole sea, except for the eastern part of it.

The Role of Lyubov Semenenko

It was in 1974 at the request of the Board of Berdiansk V. Lenin Fishing Collective Farm was sent from Rostov to Berdiansk candidate of biological sciences Semenenko L.I. (not long before that she moved from the Magadan Region to Rostov and got a job in Rostov AzNIIRH as an ordinary researcher), for whom Berdiansk fish collective farm named after Lenin, managed by Kravchenko P.I., created acceptable conditions for her work and personal life to the best of her financial capabilities. There, she became the head of the cage culture.

Lyubov Semenenko, "Mother" of the Acclimatized Grey Mullet



Ichthyologist Genrich Grote



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