Salmon Central

by | Oct 15, 2006

Today’s New York Times looks at an effort in the Russian Far East to conserve Pacific salmon habitat and promote a sustainable fisheries industry.

Kamchatka caviar harvest

The government of Kamchatka seeks to protect nine entire rivers and more than six million acres. The protected watersheds would exceed the scale of many renowned preserved areas in the United States. Together they would be more than four times the size of the Everglades, nearly triple that of Yellowstone National Park and slightly larger than the Adirondack Park, which is often referred to as the largest protected area in the lower United States.

The government’s position has surprised even the scientists and conservationists who have lobbied to protect habitat from the development pressures of post-Soviet Russia. They support the initiative unequivocally. Yet, even if the rivers are protected, some conservation advocates warn, the fish runs could remain at risk if locals ignore the new rules. Estimates of the region’s salmon fisheries’ annual value range to $600 million, and poaching is rampant today.