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The spring season came to an end on the Delger Murun River. We have had an unusual weather pattern resulting in a higher amount of rain and even a little snow. The river was quick to muddy up this year which is something we have never seen before. From talking with locals and Fish Mongolia staff it appears that extreme overgrazing upstream is the probable culprit. In speaking with folks in Ulaanbaatar and locals in Khovsgol Aimag instances of taimen poaching seem to be on the rise. Unfortunately, we found evidence of poaching along the Delger Murun as well. A flood washed the remnants of a gill net into the bushes along the bank.
This photo shows the devastating effects of a similar net, which are becoming more and more common in Mongolia. A Mongolian angler in UB shared this photo with me, so the location of the picture is unknown, but my guess is the river may be in Khovsgol Aimag, most probably the Ider River. This river was highlighted in the fly fishing movie SOULFISH (http://burlproductions.com/SOULpage.htm).
This series follows University of Montana graduate student Dan Bailey as he travels the wilds of Mongolia to survey and tag Taimen, the world’s largest trout. Dan is posting to the Club EcoBlu blog as he assists with the Taimen Conservation Project . Taimen are highly endangered, have been known to grow to 6-ft long and more than 200 lbs. The information gathered will aid in drafting a conservation plan to protect this megafish. Trout Headwaters, Inc. is a sponsor of the project.
This series follows University of Montana graduate student Dan Bailey as he travels the wilds of Mongolia to survey and tag Taimen, the world’s largest trout. From the team’s remote field camp, Dan is posting to the Club EcoBlu blog as he assists with the Taimen Conservation Project . Taimen are highly endangered,have been known to grow to 6-ft long and more than 200 lbs. The information gathered will aid in drafting a conservation plan to protect this megafish. Trout Headwaters, Inc. is a sponsor of the project.
Here we are at the start of the 2012 Mongolian field season. As with any trip to Mongolia I am excited for the conservation work to come and of course the fishing to be had. This year has found us expanding our foreign angler education campaign to the Chinggis Khan International airport in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. We have secured contracts to rent advertisement space in the international baggage claim to promote our taimen conservation message. This approach will allow us to target international anglers as they arrive in Mongolia. To be exposed to a taimen conservation message as one of the first images a foreign angler encounters will provide a clear and comprehensive message of taimen conservation in Mongolia.
Unfortunately, it is not all good news coming out of Mongolia regarding taimen conservation. This spring has found all of us who are involved with taimen conservation actively fighting against the introduction of taimen hatcheries in Mongolia. I am sad to say that a taimen hatchery is in the beginning stages of construction at the mouth of the Delger Murun River. This is the river where I have guided and worked for the last 6 years and is where we are currently conducting a population assessment on wild taimen numbers. This hatchery is not the only one proposed that I, and most taimen conservation organizations, believe will have devastating effects on wild taimen populations throughout Mongolia. Regrettably, these hatcheries have been promoted by the Taimen Conservation Fund (TCF), the only national taimen conservation organization. While these hatcheries have been supported by the TCF they have been vehemently opposed by taimen conservation organizations and taimen fly-fishing outfitters as a direct threat to wild and sustainable taimen populations.
The introduction of hatcheries could not have come at a worse moment. For the first time in Mongolia outfitters, international monetary funds, and taimen conservation organizations began to work together to promote a larger taimen conservation strategy. Each group has reached a level of comfort with the health and protection of the taimen fishery where they each have time and resources invested. The introduction of hatcheries has caused all groups to pull back and revert to the concept of protecting their own river and be damned with the rest. This concept cannot continue as it only results in the protection of several select rivers while allowing the vast majority of Mongolia’s wild taimen populations to be exploited and affected by unscrupulous outfitters, uneducated anglers, and hatchery-raised taimen. This is absolutely not the time to revert to these practices, we need to stand together as a unified group and oppose the damaging policy actions that wild taimen face in Mongolia.
This third post in the series follows University of Montana graduate student Dan Bailey as he travels the wilds of Mongolia this summer to survey and tag Taimen, the world’s largest trout. From a remote field camp, Dan is working to assist with the Taimen Conservation Project. Taimen are highly endangered,have been known to grow to 6-ft long and can weigh more than 200 lbs. The information gathered will aid in drafting a conservation plan to protect this megafish. Trout Headwaters, Inc. is a sponsor of the project.
Notes from the Field June 20, 2011
The start of every season is a little nerve racking because you never know what happened to the river over the winter. Catching, tagging, and releasing that first fish is a great feeling knowing that populations survived the winter.
Winter in Mongolia is a time when poaching of Taimen occurs at its most destructive rates. The winters are so cold in Mongolia that the rivers often freeze solid except in deep wintering pools along the river. Taimen will migrate to these deep pools over the winter and congregate in large numbers. As these fish congregate they become vulnerable to poachers who drill holes through the ice and catch these wintering fish. Taimen population numbers of large sections of river can be damaged by this form of fishing. These fish are pulled through the ice, frozen solid and transported to population centers for sale (photo). Poaching enforcement has been virtually non-existent in Mongolia resulting in a drastic decrease of Taimen numbers throughout the country.
Trout Headwatershas been providing water resource assessment, inventory and monitoring as part of successful restoration for many years, and continually look for ways to decrease costs and increase value for our clients. Since field data collection demands specialized equipment and skilled personnel, some project managers skip the assessment process altogether and more still fail to monitor the outcomes.
Anyone undertaking restoration should insist upon a good baseline assessment and monitoring program. Such an assessment can best be described as the basis by which to judge the success of any action taken to conserve, protect, enhance or restore water resources. Monitoring is performed on an ongoing basis to continue to evaluate the health of the resource after any action is taken in order to track results in a meaningful way.
Trout Headwatersperforms baseline assessments to meet a variety of client objectives, and to guide all restoration planning, design and installation. New technologies have made the assessment process efficient, repeatable and low-cost – certainly the best investment toward a successful stream, river or wetland restoration project. Learn more about assessment tools and processes by visiting our sister company http://www.riverworks.net
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