6.3.2 Kanchalan

6.3.2 Kanchalan

A. Kanchalan Sample Profile (n=43)

In Kanchalan, interviews occurred between July 2008 and September 2009. The sample was predominately male (72%), and the majority fell between the ages of 36 and 55 years old (see Table 2). The majority (77%) have lived in the community for more than 30 years (see Table 8). The sample represents many years of hunting and fishing experience with 82% having 11 years or more experience harvesting in the area (see Table 9). At the time of the interview, 26% reported they were unemployed.

Table 8. Years of residence in the community (n=43)

 Length of Time    Frequency    Percent  
 0-5 years  1  2%
 11-20 years  2  5%
 21-30 years  7  16%
 Total    43    


Table 9. Years hunted/fished in the area (n=43)

 Length of Time    Frequency    Percent  
 0-5 years  3  7%
 6-10 years  5  12%
 11-20 years  11  26%
 21-30 years  8  19%
More than 30 years 16  37%
 Total    43  

B. Observed Changes in Environmental Conditions (n=43)

Kanchalan respondents noticed many changes in environmental conditions. When asked if they had noticed anything ‘unusual or rare’ in the environment at the specific location of the previous fishing trip in the past 5 to 10 years, a majority (56%) agreed they had.

When asked in a ‘yes or no’ format whether they had noticed a change in specific environmental conditions within the last 10 to 25 years, many replied that they had. Of the environmental changes 81% noticed a change in snow condition, 70% noticed a change in air temperature, 63% noticed a change in the timing of freeze-up, and 61% noticed a change in the timing of break-up (see Figure 16).


By examining the open-ended responses addressing what changes were observed for each environmental condition some trends were revealed. The most frequently observed change is in snow conditions (81%). There appeared to be a near consensus that there was less snow (79%). Only one respondent noticed more snow. The change in snow conditions was thought to have an effect on the reindeer herds by some respondents.
  • “Снежный покров стал тоньше: за зиму вымерзла пушица – самый ранний корм оленей.”
  • “The snow cover has gotten thinner. The cotton grass – the earliest food for the reindeer — froze through over the course of the winter.”

Although many observed a change in air temperature (70%) there was a lack of consensus as to how it was changing. Some believed it was becoming warmer (44%), while others believed it was getting cooler (35%).

Many agreed that freeze-up time was late (56%), and a few believed it to be early (7%).

  • “Раньше в начале сентября уже был прочный лед на лужах, на реке – забереги. Сейчас конец сентября, льда нигде нет.”
  • “Before there was already thick ice on the puddles on the river. It was up to the banks by the beginning of September, but now there’s no ice anywhere by the end of the September.”

The timing of break-up was believed to be earlier by 30% of respondents, while 26% believed it was later. Rain was considered to be less frequent by 40% of respondents.

Other environmental changes found in open-ended responses included lower water levels in the rivers (30%) and an increase in underwater vegetation (14%). Unusual observations included the appearance of beluga whales at the fishing location and the increase of willow and alder, resulting in the appearance of sparrows and ravens.

  • “Несмотря на то, что идут дожди, воды в реке не прибавляется, река мельчает.”
  • “Despite the fact that it rains, the water in the river doesn’t increase. The river gets shallower.”
  • “В поселке появились воробьи, в тундре много воронов, все зарастает ольхой и ивой.”
  • “Sparrows have appeared in the village. On the tundra there are a lot of ravens. Everything is overgrowing with willows and alders.”
When asked about the timing of the fish runs that had begun at the time of the interview, reports were split as to whether the fish runs were early or late (see Figure 17). Although a majority of those harvesting broad whitefish (83%) agreed that the timing of the seasonal migration was the same as previous years.

C. Abundance and Quality of Subsistence Resource (n=47)

The harvest events in the sample included broad whitefish (53%), arctic grayling (30%) and chum salmon (17%).

In responses to open-ended questions, 37% of the sample referred to declining fish stock in some manner. Broad whitefish were said to be decreasing by 19% of respondents, and arctic grayling were also reported as decreasing (14%); 12% reported more pike in the area. Reasons cited for declining fish populations included decreased water levels, increased underwater vegetation and nearby mining activity.

  • “В местах обитания чира появилась водная растительность, стало больше щук, уровень воды понизился, чира стало меньше.”
  • “Underwater vegetation has appeared in the Broad whitefish’s habitat. There are more pike. The water level has gone down. There are less Broad whitefish.”
  • “Летом в реках стало меньше воды, рыба уходит вниз по реке. Гибнет много мальков из-за пересыхания проток.”
  • “This summer there was less water in the river. The fish went downstream. A lot of fry are dying due to the drying up of the channels.”
  • “Муть в реке из-за работы мелиораторов или прииска Валунистого может помешать рыбе добраться до мест нереста.”
  • “Dregs in the water from the land-reclamation work, or maybe it’s the Valnutsky mine, interferes with the fish getting to the spawning ground.”

Reports of diseased fish were fairly common in the sample. A majority (57%) of harvest events yielded at least one fish with visible disease (see Figure 18). Catches of broad whitefish were more frequently reported with visible disease (76%). Sores, ulcers, spots, and/or pimples were the most common forms of disease reported in broad whitefish.

  • Kрасные пятна на спине и боках рыбы.”
  • “Red spots are on the spines and sides of the fish.”
  • “На голове и спине рыб были язвы.”
  • “There were ulcers on the head and spine of the fish.” • “Пятна на теле в области головы, иногда с плесенью.”
  • “There are spots on the body in the area of the head, sometimes with mold”
  •  “Капсулы в мягких тканях и глазах, язвы на боках.”
  • “There are capsules in the soft tissue and eyes, [along with] lesions on the side.”
  • “Кишки с шишечками.”
  • “Guts are with bumps.”
  • “Особи с белыми точками на печени и на желудке.”
  • “Some fish are with white spots on the liver and the stomach.”
  • “Язвочки на теле у брюшных плавников.”
  • “Sores are on the body of the abdominal fins.”

Reported disease of chum salmon included:

  • “Попадались рыбы, зараженные плоскими червями (мякоть спинной части).”
  • “Some caught fish were infected with flat worms in the spinal tissue.”
  • “Pыбы-уродцы с искривлением позвоночника, с непропорционально крупной головой; пиявки на коже, рядом с жабрами.”
  • “Freak-fish with crooked spines, disproportionately large heads, and leeches on the skin nearby the gills”
  • “Pыбы, внутри которых были личинки.”
  • “Fish that were infested with maggots.”
  • “На спине рыб были белые пятна (шишки).”
  • “There were white spots (bumps) on the fish spine.”
The location of the previous fishing trip was described as reliable by 89% of the respondents, which is reflected in the fact that 86% planned to return to the same place on their next fishing trip for the same species. For those going to a different location, most intended to stay, again, within a 15 kilometer range. Harvesters seemed generally confident that they could predict the size of their next catches, and 62% said they had an idea of what their next catches would be.