Kamchatka, Russia | Where the Salmon Rule, National Geographic Magazine: Fish Wardens and Poaching Friends

A warden shares tea with the poachers in their kitchen tent. There are a lot of unwritten rules. These fish wardens know that it costs $10,000 to get into a poaching camp in Kamchatka, and $10,000 to get back out by helicopter with your catch. The wardens understand that if they destroy fishing gear and caviar production facilities,  they have harmed their neighbors enough. And they also can’t afford $10,000 to get criminals back by helicopter for prosecution.

The poachers know this, and also know not to bring any kind of identity papers with them because it is possible for them to be prosecuted with their passports.  The kitchen survives the burn so men can feed themselves. The poachers go free, but have to sit and wait for their helicopter, empty handed which is why the wardens don’t burn their kitchen or sleeping areas.