Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences
Oksana Zvidennaya

The Taz. The Surrounding Society and the Main Economic Activity of the Region


The Primorye territory accounts for about 6% of the Far East area and constitutes its most densely populated and industrialized part. It has several large and unique deposits of various natural resources that serve as a foundation for the most powerful mining industry in the Far East. Up to 80% of the territory is covered with highly diverse forests with their area totaling 12.3 million hectares. The territory is also actively developing tourism. The Taz live in the Olga and Lazo municipal districts with most of them living in the Olga district. Demographically, these districts are populated by Russians, Ukrainians, Armenians, the Taz, the Udege, the Nanai, the Itelmen, the Nenets, Tajiks, etc.

The Olga and Lazo districts are mostly engaged in logging and wood processing, animal husbandry, plant husbandry, harvesting the taiga’s bounty, and fishing.

The districts’ principal recreational resource is the Call of the Tiger National Park and the Lazo State Nature Reserve that spans parts of the Olga, Lazo, and Chuguevka districts. The Olga district’s economy is dominated by the fishing industry with the major fishing and fish processing enterprises being Moryak-Rybolov OJSC, Vladimir Agar Plant LLC, and a branch of Gessar Fishing Enterprise OJSC. Coastal fishing and aquaculture are rapidly expanding producing scallops, sea cucumbers, kelp, etc. Some enterprises intend to launch fish farms.

Licensed Siberian salmon fishing takes place in the rivers of the Olga district. The indigenous peoples, including the Taz, get access based on quotas. Yet, these territories are strictly limited, which runs contrary to traditional Taz fishing and traditional use of nature, so this contentious issue still looms large.

The district has mineral water springs. Mountain Water Spring and Sandagou mineral water brands are produced there by Golden Spring LLC with its plant in the village of Olga.

The village of Vesyoly Yar has an agar plant. Vladimir Agar Plant LLC is a leading enterprise in the Primorye coastal complex. It manufactures agar and produces scallops, sea urchins, and kelp. It has major experience in exporting sea urchins and sea urchin roe to Japan. 

The district has 20 small-sized enterprise, 11 of them operational. Of those 11, five are industrial, one works in construction, and five work in commerce and operate eateries. In addition to small-sized enterprises, the district has 333 sole proprietorships mostly engaged in commerce, operating eateries, making bread and baked goods; few are engaged in logging and wood processing.

Agriculture once used to be well-developed (the Olga district used to be a major potato producer), but today, it is not a priority, and the market economy has seen a spike in fishing. Yet, there are programs offering support to private entrepreneurship in agriculture. The district administration considers projects that would extend guarantees to beginner farmers and family-run animal farms.