Award of Excellence
National Geographic Magazine
Kamchatka is a narrow peninsula in Russia the size of California--a pristine landscape and the last place where all seven species of salmon still exist. The salmon migrate from the Sea of Okhotsk into eight major river systems where brown bears and Russians fish. Poaching is the biggest threat to this pristine ecosystem because enforcement is nonexistent. Scientists figure that commercial fisheries in Kamchatka take 40 to 60 percent of the fish each year and poaching takes an equivalent amount.