This river supports a considerable fishing population, who despatch salt fish and caviare all over Russia.
In the Volga section of the Caspian Sea fish are caught to the value of about £I,000,000 annually; in the Ural section over 40,000 tons of fish and nearly 1500 tons of caviare are obtained.
As a member of the coterie known as the "Souls" he was, so to speak, caviare to the general.
The fish of greatest economic value are sturgeon (four species), which yield great quantities of caviare and isinglass, the herring, the salmon and the lobster.
The fishery products, including oysters, tarpon, sturgeon,caviare and sponges, are also important.
Fishing off the mouth of the Volga gives occupation to 50,000 persons; the fish, chiefly herrings and sturgeon, together with the caviare prepared from the latter, are sold for the most part at Nizhniy-Novgorod.
The fish principally caught are sturgeon, giving caviare, sheat fish or silure, salmon, carp, bream and perch.
Since the growth of the petroleum industry of Baku and the construction of the Transcaspian railway, Astrakhan has become an important commercial centre, exporting fish, caviare, sugar, metals, naphtha, cottons and woollens, and importing grain, cotton, fruit and timber, to the aggregate value of £8,250,000 with foreign countries and of £14,500,doo with the interior of Russia.
The coarse-grained grey Rumanian caviare is forwarded to Berlin, and there blended with Russian caviare.
The chief are the Sardab-rud, Chalus, Herhaz (Lar in its upper course), Babul, Tejen and Nika, and all are well stocked with trout, salmon (azad-mahi), perch (safid-mahi), carp (kupur), bream (subulu), sturgeon (sag-mahi) and other fish, which with rice form the staple food of the inhabitants; the sturgeon supplies the caviare for the Russian market.
The export trade is chiefly with Russia from Meshed-i-Sar, the principal port of the province, to Baku, where European goods are taken in exchange for the white and coloured calicoes, caviare, rice, fruits and raw cotton of Mazandaran.
The external trade of the Russian empire (bullion and the external trade of Finland not included) since the year 1886 is shown in the following table: The exports rank in the following order :- cereals (wheat, barley, rye, oats, maize, buckwheat) and flour, 49.2%; timber and wooden wares, 7.2; petroleum, 5.8; eggs, 5.4; flax, 5; butter, 3; sugar, 2-4; cottons and oilcake, 2 each; oleaginous seeds, &c., 1.5; with hemp, spirits, poultry, game, bristles, hair, furs, leather, manganese ore, wool, caviare, live-stock, gutta-percha, vegetables and fruit, and tobacco.