Koppi River and JapanNews & Program Updates
In spring 2005, IUCN Salmon Specialist Group (SSG) Co-chair and Wild Salmon Center Conservation Biologist, Dr. Pete Rand, along with Program Associate Brian Caouette and colleagues from Japan and Russia embarked on a ten-day research expedition to the wild Koppi River in Khabarovsk Territory of the Russian Far East. The goal of the expedition was to conduct research and monitoring of the largest and most ancient species of salmonid, the Sakhalin taimen or Hucho perryi. This trip represented the first opportunity for the IUCN SSG to complete a Red List Assessment for an anadromous salmonid.
During the trip, we collected:
- Genetic analysis and biosampling data (age, sex, length) of taimen populations
- Data for joint monograph on taimen and red-list proposal to IUCN
- Divided duties among international group of scientists for taimen monograph
Our findings from the trip gave us cause for concern. While the environmental conditions of the river remain good with limited resource extraction and almost no flood plain development, the main threat to the sea-run taimen is illegal fishing and bycatch from the coastal salmon fishery. Our sample indicated that populations of juvenile taimen were very low, an ominous sign for taimen's future in the basin.
Our next steps are to complete the red listing for the Sakhalin taimen and compose a monograph, which will:
- identify the appropriate conservation unit for listing,
- assess status and trends,
- categorize level of risk of extinction for the species, and
- establish a conservation plan.