The Taimen Conservation Project – Notes From the Field November 8, 2011

Did you know that Mongolians believe that rivers are part of the god, or spirit, of land and water. Taimen are considered as the ‘animals of the spirit’ or ‘children of the river god’, so traditionally Mongolians did not eat fish, and give great respect to rivers and taimen.

Mongolians recognize that Taimen are a symbol of their country’s unique and healthy natural environment. Mongolians are very proud that their country provides one the world’s last safe havens for taimen. The Government of Mongolia is working to protect taimen while maintaining opportunities for sustainable sport fishing.

Taimen are a slow growing fish that can can live up to 30 years or more and only reach sexual maturity between 5 and 7 years of age. These attributes make taimen populations incredibly sensitive to poaching and fishing related mortality.

Scientific studies of taimen sport fisheries in Mongolia have shown that proper catch and release will not harm the fish population. However, taimen can be harmed if they are put on dry land or if anglers place their fingers into the animal’s gills.  Download Catch & Release Guidelines SOR Brochure

Mongolia has several healthy taimen fisheries that benefit from the joint conservation efforts of government, local communities, NGO’s, and responsible outfitters. However, many taimen populations remain threatened by both direct harvest and habitat degradation. 

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.

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