Wild Salmon Center's President & CEO visits Russian Far East program siteNews & Program Updates
I just returned from the Koppi River, one of the "last, best" salmon rivers remaining along the Sea of Japan coast. It's a major stronghold for Sakhalin taimen, an anadromous species that the WSC and IUCN placed on the international Red List of Threatened Species earlier this year.
Sakhalin taimen are an ancient species of Asian "trout" that can grow to an extremely large size (already this year a 79 pound fish was caught on spinning gear in the lower Koppi). They come in from the sea in the spring to spawn and then spend the summer feeding on adult salmon and char.
The Koppi, along with the Samarga (another of the Wild Salmon Center's priority rivers), represents the heart of the Sikhote Alin mountains of the Russian Far East. These mountains and rivers are Asia's last remaining temperate wilderness. They also encompass a unique transition zone where one can find both tropical species like the Siberian tiger, the Asian moon bear and the giant Blakiston's fish owl along with northern Arctic species like wolves, moose, and the Steller's sea eagle.
The Koppi is threatened by logging and salmon poaching. Nevertheless it is still a gem and has the chance to be a long-term stronghold for wild salmon and taimen, as well as terrestrial biodiversity.
We just received word that National Geographic Society will partner with us to help protect the Koppi—we will continue to keep you posted on our work on both the Koppi and Samarga.