6.3.6 Tymlat

6.3.6 Tymlat

A. Tymlat Sample Profile (n=38)

In Tymlat, interviews occurred between December 2008 and March 2009. The average age of the sample was 45 (see Table 2), and nearly equal portions of men and women were represented (see Table 3). Long-time residents comprised the majority of the sample with 74% having lived in Tymlat for over 30 years (see Table 19), and 80% have harvested in the community for 11 years or more (see Table 20). At the time of the interview, 68% reported they were unemployed.

Table 19. Years of residence in community (n=38)

 Length of Time    Frequency    Percent  
 0-5 years  0  0%
 6-10 years  2  5%
 11-20 years  1  3%
 21-30 years  7  18%
 More than 30 years  28  74%
 Total    38    


Table 20. Years harvested in community (n=38)

 Length of Time    Frequency    Percent  
 0-5 years  1  3%
 6-10 years  7  18%
 11-20 years  12  32%
 21-30 years  6  16%
 More than 30 years  12  32%
 Total    38    


B. Observed Changes in Environmental Conditions

Respondents in Tymlat noticed fewer changes in environmental conditions than residents in other communities. Very few (5%) noticed a change at the location of the previous fishing trip. Figure 25 displays observed changes in specific environmental conditions over the past 10 to 25 years. Storms were the most frequently cited change (45%), followed by changes in rain (37%), snow (32%) and air temperature (26%).

A substantial portion noticed changes in storms. Many (26%) reported an increased frequency of storms. Increasing strength was also frequently mentioned by 13%. Hail in association with storms was cited as occurring more frequently by 18%.

  • “С 2005 года уже началось больше штормов. И с каждым годом сильнее и больше. И ветра и дожди.”
  • “Since 2005 there’s started to be more storms. And they are stronger and bigger with every year, and there are winds and rains.”
  • “В этом году штормов очень много было. Чуть ли не неделями сидели дома. Раньше такого не было. Летом стало холодно.”
  • “This year there were a lot of storms. We stayed at home for weeks. There was nothing like this before. Summers have gotten colder.”
  • “Стало в этом году больше гроз, даже град шел. Раньше, года два назад, такого не было.”
  • “There are more thunderstorms this year, we even had hail. Two years back we did not have such things.”

In responses to open-ended questions, 45% observed more rain than in the past. There was not a single report of less rain. Flooding was discussed in association with the increase in rain.

  • “Дождь почти все лето лил, даже в декабре был дождь со снегом ночью. Днем мороз и гололед. Раньше такого не было.”
  • “The rain poured almost the whole summer, even in December there was rain mixed with snow at night. In the day time, frost and glazed frost. There was no such thing before.”
  • “В 2001 году осенью был сильный шторм, большие накаты. Затопило рыбозавод, унесло с завода пластмассовую посуду. От шторма навага валялась на берегу. Мы ее собирали собакам.”
  • “In 2001 in the fall, there was a big storm, big waves. It flooded the fish-processing plant; it took plastic kitchenware from the plant. After the storm, there were cod along the shore. We collected them for the dogs.”

A change in air temperature was observed by 26%. Responses to open-ended questions revealed that 34% believe the air temperature is becoming colder in the summer and fall, while 13% reported warmer winters. The most frequent observation that fell into the ‘other’ category was an increase in pollution (11%). Observations included fuel wastes from gold mining, impacts from explosions associated with mining activity, oil spills in the ocean and dirty ice.

  • “Еще помню, что в верховьях реки, что -то взрывали (люди говорили). Река стала рыжая и рыба дохлая попадалась, мы как раз в это время на устьях рыбачили. Говорят, что это золотодобытчики в верховьях что-то делали.”
  • “I remember that in the upstream of the river something blew up (people were saying). The river became rusty and dead fish were being caught, we were fishing in the delta at that time. They say the gold miners upstream were doing something.”
  • “[Лёд] изменился из-за выбросов горючих отходов в небо, раньше лед употребляли для питья, чай пили. А сейчас его ни за что нельзя употребить. Его растопишь, а вода сверху грязная.”
  • “[Ice conditions] have changed because of the fuel emissions [possible black carbon] into the sky. We used to use ice for drinking, made tea. And now there is no way you can use it for anything. When you melt it, the water on top is dirty.”

Changes were also reported in the timing of fish runs. Of those harvesting chum salmon, 60% reported that the harvest seemed earlier, while 43% of those harvesting pink salmon reported that the run seemed later (see Figure 26).

C. Abundance and Quality of Subsistence Resource

A variety of fish were harvested on the previous trip by respondents (see Table 21) with pink salmon being the most frequently harvested.

Table 21. Species harvested

 Species    Frequency    Percent  
 Smelt  4  8%
 Saffron Cod  14  29%
 Chum salmon  5  10%
 Silver salmon  3  6%
 Multiple species  1  2%
 Pink salmon  21  44%
 Total  48
 *Due to rounding


A majority of harvests yielded healthy appearing fish, however 35% of the harvest events yielded at least one fish with visible disease (see Figure 27). The quantity of the catch reported with disease was relatively small. Pink salmon were most frequently reported with disease. Diseases included boiled-like fish, deformities and growths, strange coating on the skin, soars, ulcers, and spots. Five individuals attributed the diseases in the fish they caught to various kinds of industrial pollution, including oil and diesel spills in the ocean and rivers, radiation from rocket testing, and the dumping of radioactive waste into the sea by the US government. Interestingly, many reported they would not eat these fish.

  • “Иногда в коже глисты. Внутренности, кишки чистые. Но бывают с желтым налетом, типа слизи. Мы считали их больными. Бывало попадали одноглазые.(т.е.), у второго, с другой стороны, не было даже разреза глаз. Уродливые. Мы все ее разглядывали. Одна попалась. Больные мы не брали, закапывали. Еще попадались пузырчатые (мякоть была белого цвета и прозрачные пузырьки в мякоти). Я даже их трогала, лопала, но они крепкие. Содержимое не брызгалось, а растекалось по руке. Попадались очень редко. У старика спрашивала, что это? A он не знает. Я думаю они зараженные от топлива, испытаний. А муж говорил- море болет, и рыба тоже болет.”
  • “Sometimes there are sores in the skin. Inside, the intestines are clean. But some are with yellowish mucus. We consider them to be sick. Sometimes we caught one-eyed ones, without even a slit for an eye on the other side. Ugly ones. We all looked at it. We got one like that. We did not take the sick ones, we buried them. And also we got some with bubbles in the meat – the flesh was white and transparent bubbles in it. I even touched them, tried to burst them but they were firm. The contents did not splash but flowed out. These were caught very rarely. I asked my old man – what is it? He does not know. I think they were contaminated from fuel [diesel] [spills], from military tests. My husband was saying – the sea is sick and the fish are sick too.”
  • “Pыба как будто в плесени. Такую рыбу мы выкидываем. Даже собакам не давали.”
  • “It is like fish is covered with mold. Such fish we throw out. We don’t even give it to the dogs.”

Harvest location were described as reliable by 94%, and 65% reported that their next trip for the same species would occur in the same location. When asked if they had any idea how much they would catch on their next trip, only 19% reported that they did.