Current status and catch of Siberian taimen (Hucho taimen) in the lower Amur River
ABSTRACT. Siberian taimen, Hucho taimen (Pall.), is a common species in the Khabarovsk region, and it occurs nearly throughout the Amur River watershed (Pacific Ocean basin) and the upper tributaries of the Lena River (Arctic Ocean basin). Taimen only inhabits two coastal rivers – the Uda and Tugur. Commercial fishing for taimen has never been prohibited in the lower and central Amur River drainage basin. This species is a valuable food fish, and is especially attractive to recreational and sport fishing. Before the Second World War, taimen catches in the lower part of the Amur River were as high as 20 tons per year, but during the war, all bans on fishing were lifted, and the taimen catch increased to 100 tons per year. The period that is probably the most revealing for estimating the taimen population in the lower Amur River watershed is 1946-1969 when harvests ranged from 15 to 35 tons. In the 1970s, taimen catches declined probably because water temperatures in the Amur River increased. In the 1980-2005 period, illegal fishing increased, commercial fishing decreased, and catch statistics became unreliable. The best taimen rivers now are located in unpopulated areas in the Amur River drainage basin and inaccessible upper regions of the Lena River drainage basin.
Keywords: Amur, catch, distribution, fishing, taimen