Sakhalin island has always been closely connected with fishery. It has the warm Japanese Sea from one side and the cold Okhotsk Sea from the other, besides there are a lot of rivers, lakes and creeks on the island itself. No other part of Russia can boast of such diversity of seafood and fish.
Everything started long long ago, there were no Russians on the island, only different indigenous peoples who were hunting and fishing. Later Japanese fishing boats started to sail to the island. By 1787 there had been formed two small Japanese settlements of fishermen which spread all over the southern part of the island very fast.
In 1853 the Russian government remembered about the island but the Japanese did not plan to leave. Till 1875 the island had been divided into the Russian and Japanese parts. Subsequently the Japanese exchanged their part of the island for the Kuril Islands.
However Japan didn’t stop to develop the natural resources of the island. In the end of the XIX century it annually caught 40-45 thousand of fish on Sakhalin (3-4 times more than Russian fishermen did).
In 1920 Japan declared Sakhalin to be its territory again. They built railway, cities and ports there. The island was finally returned to Russia only in 1945.
In the end of the 40s they mostly caught herring there. In the 50s they started to fish in the open sea.
Approximately till the 1970s they only got from the nature giving nothing in return. Such situation was typical for all the country, resources seemed to be endless and self-recovering. Amount of fish in the waters of Sakhalin was decreasing, some species became extinct, people needed to start artificial breeding of fish and rigorous planning of fishing.
By the end of the 1980s they already had eighteen fish breeding factories on the island.
Beginning of the 90s was a difficult time for any economical sector in the country, ships on the island were morally obsolete, there was no money neither for development nor for maintaining of the fishing sector at the same level on the island. Smuggling was flourishing.
The economy of the island has not fully restored since then yet.
People of Sakhalin became separated from all the country, they were not only fishing and hunting to survive, but started to import household appliances for 110 V and right-hand drive cars from Japan. There were even stories about a video cassette recorder that was exchanged for a two-room flat in Yuzhno-Skahalinsk and about five Kamchatka crabs that were exchanged for a Land Cruiser in a port.
Any sphere of activity was criminalized. Smuggling and poaching became the norm of life on the island.
What happens on Skhalin today? It is still restoring after several decades of stagnation and breakdown. There are 34 fish breeding factories on the island today, 16 more on the mainland. It may seem enough but Japan, Canada and America build thousands of such factories on shores of the Pacific Ocean.
Scientists insist on ceasing of salmon production for some years to let the population restore,
Modern ordinary fishermen and small businesses suffer from monopolization of large fishing companies.
“Tasty flounder” is really tasty as well as local caviar.