Iwashi, Far Eastern sardine
Sardinops sagax melanosticta
Iwashi, Far Eastern sardine      Only quite recently, the iwashi sardine placed second in Russian commercial fishing in the Far East. In recent years, they landed  up to 600,000 tons per annum. Iwashi is widespread over a wide area ranging from the shores of Taiwan to the northern part of Attar Strait and the coasts of eastern Kamchatka.
   Often (and quite incorrectly) the iwashi is called herring. Though the iwashi sardine does belong to the vast family of herring fish, it is only the closest relative of the true Pacific herring and belongs to another genus, sardinops. Iwashi is a rather small fish not over 25 cm long. Its entire appearance indicates that it is a good swimmer, spending all its time on the move. After spawning, which takes place in December through May along the Japan Sea and Pacific coasts of Japan, adult specimens rush to the north. Iwashi shoals move at a speed of 20-30 km a day. At the shores of Primorye, they feed on plankton crustaceans. Migration back to the south begins in fall, when water temperature drops to 8oC.
   Iwashi lives to the age of seven, but is chiefly targeted for 2-5 year-old specimens. Its population varies greatly: before World War Two, it was landed in large quantities, but starting from 1941 iwashi stopped coming to the coasts of Primorye for a long time. At present, its population has sharply decreased. As a result, local food stores have again for a long time stopped dealing in this widely popular and tasty product.