6.3.3 Nikolskoye

6.3.3 Nikolskoye

A. Nikolskoye Sample Profile (n=29)

In Nikolskoye, interviews were conducted from May 2008 to August 2008. The sample was predominantly male (79%) and comprised of varied age groups (see Table 2). The majority are long-time residents (see Table 10) with 66% having lived in the area for more than 30 years. Individuals with more than two decades worth of experience harvesting in and around Nikolskoye made up 80% of respondents (see Table 11). In Nikolskoye, 55% described visiting the location of their last harvest either often or very often.

Table 10. Years of residence in the community (n=29)

 Length of Time    Frequency    Percent  
 0-5 years  2  7%
 11-20 years  3  10%
 21-30 years  5  17%
 More  than 30 years  19  66%
 Total    29  


Table 11. Years hunted or fished in the area (n=29)

 Length of Time    Frequency    Percent  
 0-5 years  1  3%
 6-10 years  2  7%
 11-20 years  3  10%
 21-30 years  8  28%
 More than 30 years  15  52%
 Total    29    

B. Observed Changes in Environmental Conditions

Observed environmental changes in Nikolskoye were noted at the location of the previous harvest and in responses about specific environmental conditions. Location specific changes were noted by 66% of respondents at the location of the previous harvest. The most frequently mentioned location-specific change was in the river banks, channels, and underwater vegetation (45%). Other changes included pollution, fewer fish, and more organic matter in the water.

  • “Помельчали речки, зарастают понемногу травой.”
  • “The streams have gotten smaller, gradually getting overgrown with grass.”
  • “Сравнивая с днями моего детства и молодости, обмелела речка, замыло песком старое русло, исчезла береговая растительность вдоль берега в холмах.”
  • “Comparing with the days of my childhood and youth, the river has gotten shallower; the old riverbed washed out with sand, bank vegetation disappeared along the banks in hills.” 
  • “Теперь это грязное место: текло горючее, каустик, канализация. И просто шторма меняют берег – все меняется.”
  • “Now, this place is dirty; there’s pollution, caustic soda, sewage. And the storms are affecting the shores. Everything is changing.”
  • “Изменился состав водорослей, возможно, поднялся океанический уровень воды (опустился берег), стала накапливаться черная гниющая органика, рыба измельчала.”
  • “The composition of underwater vegetation has changed. Perhaps, the ocean water levels increased (sinking the banks). Black organic material has started to accumulate. Organic matter is accumulating.”

When asked about changes in specific environmental conditions observed in the past 10 to 25 years, rain, air temperature and storms were most frequently mentioned (see Figure 19). A change in rain was observed by 76% of respondents, all of which reported there to be less rain. Air temperature was also observed to be changing by 59% of respondents, although there was lack of consensus as to how it was changing. From the open-ended portion of the survey, 54% believed is was warmer, while 21% believed it to be cooler. Storm conditions were observed to be changing by 41% of respondents, but again there was lack of consensus as to how they were changing. Decreased frequency and/ or intensity of storms was observed by 17%, while 10% believed they were increasing in frequency and 7% believed them to be increasing in intensity.

The timing of migrating fish was also examined for those runs that had begun at the time of the interview. This included 35 harvest events in which at least one type of migrating fish (red salmon, silver salmon, pink salmon, arctic char, atka mackerel) was harvested. When asked about the timing of the seasonal migration 29% reported earlier seasonal runs, 11% reported later seasonal runs, 57% reported that the run was the same as previous years and 3% had difficulty answering the question (see Figure 20).

C. Abundance and Quality of Subsistence Resource (n=61)

In Nikolskoye, the participants harvested (from most frequently harvested to least) arctic char, red salmon, pink salmon, halibut, pacific cod, silver salmon, plaice, and atka mackerel (see Table 12).

In answers to opened-ended questions,17% of respondents reported that there were fewer fish.

  • “Стало меньше рыбы, обмелела речка, меняется русло, меняются старицы” 
  • “There are fewer fish, the river got shallow, the riverbed is changing, the old riverbed is changing.”

When asked if they had caught any fish with visible disease on the previous trip, 36% reported they had. Of those harvesting red salmon (13 respondents), 92% reported that their catch included at least one fish with visible disease. Of those that harvested pacific cod (7 respondents), 71% reported that their harvest included at least one diseased fish. On average, a large portion (77%) of the pacific cod catch was reported with some type of disease (see Figure 21). Eight out of the 12 that reported a catch of red salmon with disease discussed the condition as bites from marine mammals, which is not unusual. In pink salmon, one harvester noticed an unusually small fish (30cm) with fully developed reproductive organs. Pacific cod diseases included worm infestations and ulcerations. Other reports of disease included flesh/skin infestations (6 harvesters observed this), sores and ulcers (6 harvesters observed this), and one case of a fish with underdeveloped sperm sacks.

Table 12. Species harvested by respondents (n=61)

 Species    Frequency    Percent  
 Halibut  8  13%
 Red salmon  13  21%
 Silver salmon  5  8%
 Arctic char  14  23%
 Atka mackerel  2  3%
 Pink salmon  9  15%
 Plaice  3  5%
 Pacific cod  7  12%
 Total    61  


A majority (93%) describe the locations of the previous trip as reliable. An indentical percentage (93%) planned to return to the same location for the same species on the following trip. A majority (84%) reported having an idea of how much they would catch on their next trip while 16% reported having no idea.