(in Russian, ostroga), a forked, piercing implement used in fishing. The tines of a fish spear are usually metal; however, wooden or bone tines are used among some peoples. Russian fishermen mounted an iron spear resembling a pitchfork on a slender pole (ratovishche), which was approximately 4 m long. There usually were three tines, but sometimes there were as few as two or as many as 12. Each tine was about 0.25 m long and had a barb to hold the fish securely.
A two-tined spear (sandov’) formerly used in the Caspian Sea for catching sheatfish had an iron ring at the end of the handle with a towline, which was reeled by hand or was attached to the boat. Another variation of the fish spear was a harpoonlike instrument (kutilo) used for hunting various types of sea animals.
In the USSR, spear fishing is illegal.