This is a type of trout (Salmo ischchan) endemic to the Sevan Lake, situated on 1900 meters of altitude – the largest lake of the southern Caucasus – in Armenia. The name of the trout comes from the Armenian word “ishcan”, meaning “duke”. The name was chosen because of its particular coloration, varying from pink to yellow depending on its nutrition and the microclimate, and because of the meat, which is very popular. This species has existed long before men, and already had a good commercial reputation in the XV century, often being exported to other countries.
In the Caucasus, the fish was often paired with wine, spices and lemon and pomegranate juices, or stuffed with hazelnuts or fruits. The number of traditional dishes prepared with this fish is infinite: It can be boiled, fried or braised with almonds. The most famous of them is trout with wine, cooked with basil, tarragon, chives and pepper.
Currently, the population is reduced to a minimum, with a collapse of the population registered in recent years. This is attributed to many factors: most importantly, human intervention on the lake basin, like the construction of dams and deviations of inflows, which has influenced the lake ecosystem. Then there was the introduction of non-endemic species, which has led to a strong biologic competition, and not least water pollution to which the trout is very sensitive. Only clean and non-polluted waters guarantee a fish with good quality meat; also excessive fishing of the Sevan trout has contributed to the reduction of this species, due to which the commercial fishing of this species is highly regulated.