Serge Karpovich, Elizabeth Arnold
Fishing in Kamchatka discussion.
Guido Rahr, Jack Stanford
Discuss conservation issues with Elizabeth Arnold.
Helicopter start-up sounds
Helicopter take-off, landing, unloading
Includes unidentified voices.
NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
28 Sep 2002
- Kamchatka Peninsula
- 56.47139 159.42993
Decoded MS stereo
Log of DAT #: 1
Engineer: Michael Schweppe
Date: Sept. 28, 2002
Elizabeth and Michael talking.
My name is Serge Karpovich
Tell me a little bit about how this all came about.
Well my part of it was pure accident and the whole project was kind of an accident. In 1992, I started visiting Russia regularly and doing business there in Moscow. And a friend of mine from Seattle who is an avid fisherman asked me to find out if it was possible to fish for steelhead in Kamchatka. So I asked people in Moscow if there was any fishing for steelhead and nobody had ever heard of the fish. They didn't know what a steelhead was. They had no idea. So someone finally recommended that I go to the zoological museum, which I did. And I went finally to see the director and when I went in, she was a very large woman, a very famous scientist I am told and she looked at me grumpily said who are you and I said I'm an American in my best Russian and she said that explains everything come on in. and she was standing by her desk counting one and two ruble bills and she said angrily see what science has come to in Russia? Here I am the director of this museum and I'm counting the day's ticket tape. What can I do for you? And I said... (inaudible)... I represent a group of fisherman. (EA: one got bigger). Right well, I had the feeling that it should be more than one. A group of fisherman who wanted to fish for steelhead, and she said I don't know anything about fish and she said wait a minute and I'll call my resident ichthyologist and she pressed a button and sure enough a little guy came running into the room and I asked him the same question and he said ¿Oh yes there are steelhead in Kamchatka, we call it the anadromous form of mikusa, that's the word they use for rainbow trout and yeah and the country's expert on it is professor Oksana Saiveyetava at MGU, you should go see her but (mumbling). Any way I was (3.12 loud sound of automobile in background) leaving to go back to the states the next day so (mumbling) that day I called I got a hold of Oksana and she was very surprised that anybody would call her and I told her what it was about (wind noise)
Hang on a second, it got a little windy there.
So anyway she didn't want to see me. She said there's nothing to discuss, and I don't have any time. When I pressed, (mumbling) I prevailed finally she agreed to receive that same afternoon in her office at Moscow State University. And I went there with and uh she said right away, we have steel head but it's an endangered species the numbers are declining. We're very worried about them we have a responsibility of monitoring and studying them and we can't we don't have enough money to go out there so far. She said so are you interested in science? Are your friends interested in science? I said, ¿Oh yes. They're all wild about science and conservation, which actually turned out to be true. And the germ of the idea that we could have a joint Russian-American expedition was born right there, in which the American side would find anglers, would put up money and we'd take...and the Russians would go with scientific assistance and uh to help promote the study and conservation of steelhead. And actually that same day I said uh...her colleague Valerie Miksemov said but somebody will have to go out there first and I said who much would it cost and he said well 300 hundred dollars and I said here's 500 dollars.
At the time did it seem beyond the realm of possibility?
No I was very realistic but I had no idea (jumbled speech) I thought my friend John Sager and I and a few friends would get together we'd go and fish. All I was a casual fisherman.
But the scope of the project the idea that you could have this...
Nothing Nothing (wind noise) The only idea was something might come of this yes I could see and the idea that we could help science and so on and nature and the environment, that all appealed to me very much. Anyway the uh...as it turned out I went back I think the next day I called my friend John Sager in Seattle and he had a friend named Pete Soverel. (laughs)
We'll get to him. We'll get to him.
Yeah you'll be talking more about him, and it turned out that Pete knew all about steelhead fishing and a lot of other things as well and he was a great organizer and he was wildly enthusiastic about this and he kept saying we gotta go immediately, and he uh...offered to take over the American organization of the deal, which was wonderful and he had uh already an organization on paper at least of the wild salmon center. (car driving by in background) which he felt would be suitable to the needs. So that was the birth of the project after that we brought the Russians over they're from Moscow State University.
I gotta put the windscreen on it's just too windy I'm sorry.
Talking about mic, adjusting.
What's your perspective, you've been following this all the way through, is this a good thing for them?
Well I think it's a very good thing. Actually any form of Russian-American cooperation is a good thing for both countries. Any uh specifically here in fact science (jumbled words) was in a very very low budget and our project has gotten to be very good. We have good funding for some aspects of it, and this has made it possible for some of them to make careers and people have started to study fish biology.
So maybe scientists who haven't had a chance, who wouldn't have a chance, have a chance now.
Definitely, Definitely. You should ask some of the Russian participants I think they'll agree with me that's it's been a very good thing.
Have you been coming back for years now?
Yeah, I don't come very year but I think this is my sixth time.
And what are you going to be doing this time.
And I'll be up on the rivers the river, two rivers where we first started the Oo-ta-lik and the Kwatch-a-non Rivers.
Laughing Oh OK.
Working with a scientific assistant.
Ok thank you very much.
Everyone talking while unloading about unloading the van.
Some Russian speaking in the background. Heavy wind noises.
We have the greatest overlap, the greatest amount of salmon species diversity in the world is in these rivers and it's big flat pristine landscape, and Jack will explain why the habitat is so amazing. But this is the area that we're really interested in right here. Well the problem is in this same area, there's suspected oil reserves off the coast. There's no natural, there is no natural gas reserves, there's gold, there's coal. So there's a lot of competing demands for these resources, and they've already started building a pipeline that runs all the way up here almost to the town of Soboleyva. So this is, the development's happening.
And they want to do roads along with it?
They're building a road right now, so we're working with them to try to get some protected areas and we're very close to getting this whole watershed protected. 600,000 acres, and the Sopochnaya is another area that we're working on trying to protect. And some of the first steps to protecting these areas are to wonder what's there and lay the biological baseline and that's what we're going to be doing over the next week with Jack.
Where's the pipeline?
The pipeline goes right here. We should ask the pilot to see where we're flying because.
We'll fly right over it.
Oh we're going to the coal? Ok so we'll stop in the coal.
Show me where the coal is.
This is the coal right here, and it's an important part of what we're doing because it's the most close to being protected site where we're going to be. I mean basically all the Russian players agree that this place should be protected and if it is protected it will be the first headwaters to the ocean, salmon sanctuary established anywhere that we know of. It will protect 10 species of salmon, trout, char, and steelhead and it's a completely pristine watershed.
What makes it the first choice, Guido, of the places to protect. Because of that? (wind) The amount of species or...
It is the one site in this zone of high productivity, high diversity where we were able to get all the Russian authorities to agree to protect it.
Plus it has tributaries that start high in the mountains and flow clear to the ocean. Then it also has this Kekta tributary which is tundra river, a brown water stream, there's another tributary right here that's a brown water stream so we have all of the river types that occur on the west coast within that one place.
It's a perfect model...
Whereas where we are going it's simpler than that. Geomorphically and ecologically.
How are you going to protect the area? Are you proposing to stop the road before it goes across.
No the roads going to go across.
So what does protect mean?
It means save it from development. Prevent other uses that will damage the watershed. We're trying to get a salmon refuge designation, so that's a zakoznik in Russia. We'll have more time on this, but the main thing I want you guys to know is that we're flying up in this area, and we'll be stopping up in this watershed which is we're going to stop about right here.
When you say stop, what do you mean?
We're going to land. We're going to pick up my wife Bonny who's working with Kareel Kazushan. We'll pick those two up and all of our gear for the science stuff on Sopochnaya and uh our big nitrogen cans that we have our samples in and uh...
There's a biostation there.
Talking about where they are going on their trip.
Russian talking in the background
Talking about taking pictures for website
MS asking about camping equipment. Other guy talking about back problems.
EA talking about plane ride with the guys.
Talking about drinks
Loading up helicopter
What is your name?
My name is Dion.
Michael learns his name in Russian
Multiple people talking at the same time.
Helicopter takes off
Talking in the background
Helicopter noise, increasing in pitch
Helicopter taking off
People talking in the background, unloading the helicopter
Russian speaking in background. Unloading the helicopter.
Waiting for the helicopter to take off
Helicopter takes off
More helicopter noise
Dog barking, man snoring in the background
Down at pier ready to record water
River lapping up against shore and dock, dog barking in the background.
River lapping up against shore, no dog
END OF DAT