The paper presents a quantitative assessment of sturgeon catches and related Caspian Seals’ by-catches of the illegal sturgeon fishery in the region of Dagestan and the Volga River Delta in Russia. The study uses semi-structured interviews, direct observations and informal conversations to collect data and estimates that about 10,491 kg of sturgeons were caught with 788 seals of by-catch during 35 trips conducted by 15 boats in the period of 2013–2016. The results show that both IUU sturgeon catch and the rate of bycatch seals have not demonstrated significant change since 2013. However, the rates of seals by-catch have increased since the studies in 2008 – 2009 and may be recognized as the one of the biggest entanglements of pinnipeds as by-catch.
The distribution of natural resources such as fish or forest, among many others, is an everyday political, economic, and ecological issue. Auctions are a possible alternative for grandfathering (historical rights). As many economists believe, an auction is the most efficient procedure to distribute quotas for resources. In 2019, the auction for Russian crab quotas yielded the largest revenue (more than 2 bln. euros) among world auctions, except for spectrum auctions. We analyse the strategic behavior of its participants and propose a better scheme of auction which is more favorable for newcomers and small companies, and potentially generates more revenue (up to 40% on 19 out of 31 lots) for the government.