The record-breaking salmon fishing season has ended in Kamchatka
The main part of the salmon run was delayed by cold weather and high water levels in the rivers of Kamchatka. However, when the fish finally entered the river mouth it became clear that the scientists’ forecast of extremely high catches was true. The total allowable catch grew every day. As the result, the fishermen in Kamchatka caught 496,000 metric tons of salmon, with pink salmon making up 80% of the total catch. Pink salmon runs were high not only on the western coast (as it is usual for even years) but on the eastern coast as well.
But the people in Kamchatka and the rest of the country (thanks to the Internet) will remember the 2018 salmon fishing season as the time when tons of fish were discarded on the banks of the rivers, on the sides of the roads, and in the nearby forests. A disastrous picture.
In 1983, the same high runs of pink salmon led to the change of the dominant breed due to mass dying at spawning grounds.
There is no human fault in the events like that one in 1983. These events do not lead to a catastrophe for fish, however they can have serious economic consequences. In 1998, low processing capacity of plants could have led to the same results as in 1983. Knowing that, the local administration allowed every person and company in Kamchatka to fish freely which turned out to be an effective and smart measure. In 2018, the local administration had either no will or no plan to follow the same pattern.
The high catches of this year will most likely lead to another drop of catches of pink salmon in the next few seasons. There may also be consequences for chum salmon as well, because these species usually share spawning grounds with pink salmon.
Photo in the head: ©Dmitriy Shpilenok