Thursday, 19 May 2011

Lake Ladoga, Karelia

I have a soft spot for postcards of the Russian Karelia, maybe because it looks so much like the Finnish Karelia (well, parts of the Russian Karelia used to belong to Finland) so it reminds me a lot of home. The view on this postcard, for instance, could easily be from around where I'm from, they have very similar views there too. This card reminds me of childhood holidays and more recently journeys to and from the town where I used to study at university.

Lake Ladoga ('Laatokka' in Finnish) is a freshwater lake located in the Republic of Karelia and Leningrad Oblast in northwestern Russia, not far from Saint Petersburg. It is the largest lake in Europe, and the 14th largest lake by area in the world.

The Ladoga is rich with fish. 48 forms (species and infraspecific taxa) of fish have been encountered in the lake, including roach, carp bream, zander, European perch, ruffe, endemic variety of smelt, two varieties of Coregonus albula (vendace), eight varieties of Coregonus lavaretus, a number of other Salmonidae as well as, albeit rarely, endangered European sea sturgeon. Commercial fishing was once a major industry but has been hurt by overfishing. After the war, between 1945–1954, the total annual catch increased and reached a maximum of 4,900 tonnes. However, unbalanced fishery led to the drastic decrease of catch in 1955–1963, sometimes to 1,600 tonnes per year. Trawling has been forbidden in Lake Ladoga since 1956 and some other restrictions were imposed. The situation gradually recovered, and in 1971-1990 the catch ranged between 4,900 and 6,900 tonnes per year, about the same level as the total catch in 1938. Fish farms and recreational fishing are developing.

Lake Ladoga has its own endemic Ringed Seal subspecies known as the Ladoga Seal.

Nizhnesvirsky Natural Reserve is situated along the shore of Lake Ladoga immediately to the north of the mouth of the River Svir.

The stamps on the right and middle are from a set of 4 stamps issued in 2009, depicting Russian National Head dresses in Middle of XIX Century. The one on the right shows a head dress from Yaroslavl Province, while the one in the middle is from Nizhniy Novgorod Province. The stamp on the left was issued in 1999 in a set of 3 stamps showing Brullow paintings.

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