Kamchatka, Russia | Where the Salmon Rule, National Geographic Magazine: Indigenous Koryak Life | Northern Kamchatka, Russia

 

This is Lyudmila and Fyodor Mirkhini in their fishing camp outside Khailino. They dry the most important parts of the fish in the smoky tent they live in during the summer. Indigenous Koryak life goes on regardless of government regulations. If, by some miracle, there is enforcement and you get a 1,000 ruble fine for poaching, you take your case to court and say “I will be happy to pay this 1,000 rubles just as soon as you pay me my back wages from my state salary of 240,000 rubles.” Basically, enforcement is a joke and the authorities (often in the neighboring fish camp) realize these people need food to get through the winter. Indigenous people get a higher quota for salmon than Russians. Russians couldn’t get enough fish for the winter in this place without an indigenous connection in their fishing camps.  . Koryaks are an indigenous people of Kamchatka Krai in the Russian Far East, who inhabit the coastlands of the Bering Sea to the south of the Anadyr basin and the country to the immediate north of the Kamchatka Peninsula. The koryak are typically split into two groups. The coastal people Nemelan (or Nymylan) meaning ‘village dwellers’ due to their sedentary fishing habits and the inland Koryaks, reindeer herders called Chauchen (or Chauchven) meaning ‘rich in reindeer’ who are more nomadic.

 

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