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Regular version of the site

Article

Who owns Sturgeon in the Caspian? New Theoretical Model of Social Responses towards State Conservation Policy

Biodiversity and Conservation. 2016. Vol. 25. No. 14. P. 2929-2945.
Ermolin I., Svolkinas L.

This article explores responses to the implementation of Russian sturgeon conservation policy in three fishing communities (in Dagestan, Kalmykia and the Volga River delta areas), along the Western and Northern coasts of the Caspian Sea. Enforcement of regulatory measures has led to complex socio-cultural responses. We show how social responses to conservation policy generate various forms of poaching. An analytical model of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ forms of poaching is analyzed against three regulatory measures: introduction of specially designated fishing areas in Russia’s Caspian fisheries, border zone expansion and the ban on sturgeon fishing. We explain why in Kalmykia the policy led people to stop practicing hard forms of sturgeon fishing, while fishermen in Dagestan responded in a more complex manner by displaying resistance towards the new policies.