Protecting Livelihoods, Protecting Water

We are what we eat.

How we feed ourselves shapes our identities, our families, our communities.

Subsistence cultures often rely heavily on the bounty of rivers and seas, which shape cultural and economic practices. This foundation is threatened by overfishing, industrial poaching, pollution, poorly regulated ship traffic and the impacts of climate change.

We collaborate with local partners to protect traditional livelihoods that feed families, sustain cultural traditions, and protect the water and wildlife local people depend on.

  • Thanks to Pacific Environment’s long-term support, the indigenous peoples of Kamchatka are increasingly participating in salmon conservation together with scientists and park rangers.
    Nina N. Zaporotskaya, Executive Director, Ethno-Environmental Information Center Lach, former partner in Kamchatka, Russia
  • Salmon rivers are home to some of the largest bears in the world, and many tens of millions of salmon spawn in these rivers every year.
  • Indigenous communities near salmon rivers rely on healthy salmon populations for food.
  • We promote community-supported fishing practices that reduce poaching, respect indigenous subsistence needs, and protect bears and other wildlife that live in salmon river watersheds.
  • Salmon
  • Poaching
  • Community
Kamchatka is one of the last great spawning grounds of Pacific wild salmon—and central to local and indigenous economic health. (Photo: Pacific Environment)
Arctic indigenous communities face food shortages due to melting sea ice and declining wildlife populations. (Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize)

Nurturing Community Solutions

Climate change and excessive exploitation of natural resources threaten local and indigenous economies.

Our Strategy

We partner with local and indigenous groups to protect waters and wildlife, promote sustainable use of local marine resources and protect indigenous hunting and fishing rights.

Our Impact

We help partners maintain healthy populations of Pacific wild salmon. We facilitate cooperation between indigenous fisherpeople and park rangers to patrol rivers to curb industrial-scale poaching in Kamchatka.

We provide technical tools. We adapt the widely used “Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool” (SMART) to Kamchatka salmon protection—a first for the species. This quantitative and qualitative tool helps partners evaluate and improve the effectiveness of wildlife patrols and local conservation activities.

We inspire cooperation among diverse stakeholders to address climate change threats. We convene indigenous leaders and scientists from Russia and Alaska to explore how Pacific walruses can survive in a world with greatly reduced sea ice.

We push for international rules that protect marine life. And we convene indigenous hunters, scientists and officials to ensure traditional knowledge and indigenous concerns help inform how these new rules are put into practice.

  • Kamchatka is the only place in the world where all six species of Pacific salmon spawn.
  • Climate change has a negative impact on Arctic indigenous hunters. For centuries they have relied on whales, walrus, seals, fish, and land mammals like caribou to feed their families.