Koppi River Expedition, Russian Far East© Wild Salmon Center

Exploring the Koppi

Exploring the Koppi

Taking important steps towards gaining protected area status for one of Russia’s taimen strongholds.

Taimen on the Koppi River, Khabarovsk, Russia
A noteworthy accomplishment of the expedition was hooking a 26.5 lb (12 kg), 2.8 foot (85 cm) taimen | © Wild Salmon Center

Accompanied by our regional partners, I embarked on an expedition on the Koppi River. The Koppi is one of WSC’s priority basins in the Russian Far East and home to a relatively strong population of rare and ancient Sakhalin taimen. The primary purpose of the trip was to determine potential locations for inspector stations for the future protected area. Additionally, photographs from the expedition will be used for educational materials.

Prior  to the expedition, our partners and I met with several local stakeholders — including the head of the local municipal government, the director of the Bochenskiy Federal Nature Preserve (located adjacent to the future Koppi River protected area), as well as river lease holders and local businessmen. All of these stakeholders have expressed an interest in the conservation work and supporting the future Koppi River Fisheries Refuge.

Koppi River Expedition, Khabarovsk, Russia
The expedition brought many rewards, including enjoying make-shift accordion lessons by the campfire | © Wild Salmon Center

WSC’s partner organization, Khabarovsk Wildlife Foundation, reported that the documentation process for the Koppi River Fisheries Refuge is reaching its final stages, a major milestone towards attaining official designation (estimated completion is in early 2010). The road to creating a protected area is long and arduous, but the benefits to salmon and the surrounding ecosystems will be felt for years to come.

Quick Facts: Koppi River, Khabarovsk

  • Estimated completion date for Protected Area designation: 2010.
  • Proposed area to be protected:  210,040 acres.
  • Protected zones: Spawning, Sport Fishing, Recreational and Traditional Fishing.
  • Species protected: Over 20, including pink salmon, Dolly Varden, cherry (masu), white-spotted char, chum salmon, and Amur grayling.
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