Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Industrial Fishing Threatens Survival of Numerically Small Peoples in Amur Basin, Activists Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 26 – The numerically small peoples of the Russian Federation include both the 26 nations who live in the Far North and the 13 who live in the Amur River basin. The former who are many times larger than the latter and far more politically active attract regular attention from the media and the government; the latter do not.

            As a result, a tragedy is unfolding among the Ulchis, Nanays, Orochis, Negidaltsy, Udegeys and the rest: the Russian authorities have allowed industrial fishing to destroy the basis of the life of these ancient but small peoples (

            Indeed, because of overfishing by these firms and even amateur fishing by tourists, this year, these peoples will not have a summer fishing season at all. That not only means that they will lose their most important source of food but also the raw materials they use to make shoes and other clothing items.

            The summer fishing season is so important to these peoples that some of them even mark a second New Year at the same time. But this year, that celebration will be muted if it takes place at all. Not being able to fish threatens the survival of these communities, many of whose members may now be forced to give up their traditional lives and assimilate in cities.

            But because they are so small in number – most number only a few hundred or at most a few thousand – they lack the clout of the numerically small peoples of the North, although they are beginning to get organized, according to Lyubov Odzyal, head of the Association of Numerically Small Peoples of Khabarovsk Kray.

            Perhaps the only reason the ban on the summer fishing season among them has been noted by any Russian media is that the Russian word for fishing season and the name of the Russian president is the same, putin.

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