Efforts to protect taimen in Mongolia have been multi-faceted since 1990 when ties to Communism were severed and Mongolia became a new democracy. Ecotourism fly fishing companies were the first on the scene in the early '90s. Fly-fishing outfitters Sweetwater Travel/Hovsgol Travel, Mongolia River Outfitters and Fish Mongolia all began operating successful conservation focused operations in Mongolia. All three outfitters worked in highly productive taimen watersheds and implemented successful taimen conservation strategies. Working together with the Mongolia government, comprehensive taimen laws and regulations were developed. Examples include catch-and-release for all taimen and the use of single barbless hooks while fishing for taimen.

In 2003 Sweetwater Travel/ Hovsgol Travel began hosting international fisheries scientists to initiate baseline data collection on taimen, through an International Finance Corporation/Global Environment Facility initiative. By gathering data in the pilot Eg-Uur taimen watershed, this work produced new information on taimen life history, population and conditions for optimal migration; and developed possibilities for improved local watershed management and species protection. A Mongolian NGO called the Taimen Conservation Fund (TCF), helped set up taimen outreach activities, like "Taimen Open Day" festivals in the Eg-Uur on behalf of the local communities.

To build a strong program of outreach, The Tributary Fund (TTF) initiated community engagement programs, a children’s taimen education camp, and local taimen science workshops in the Eg-Uur. In addition, TTF organized two Taimen Summits (links to those reports coming), one in the United States and one in Mongolia. They included scientists, fishing companies and stakeholders. Also the Wild Salmon Center facilitated a Taimen Workshop in association with the annual Society for Conservation Biology symposium in New Zealand. At these summits, stakeholders gathered to identify research priorities, issues, and collaborative actions. The need for public outreach rose to the top of the list.

In 2013, The Tributary Fund transitioned into one of its key proejcts, The Taimen Fund. As an important detail of this transition, the Tributary Fund board of directors recommended the formation of a Taimen Alliance among Mongolia’s fishing outfitters. This alliance is now a key initiative of The Taimen Fund.

Prior, Mongolia River Outfitters/Nomadic Journeys partnered with WWF-Mongolia to develop the highly successful Rare Conservation taimen “pride” campaign along the Onon watershed. This campaign promoted taimen as the focal point for watershed conservation. The project worked with local “poachers” and transformed these poachers into river guardians. This stream now benefits from broad-based community support for taimen conservation. Local NGO “Fishing Clubs” partner with WWF, Mongolia River Outfitters/Nomadic Journeys, and local and national government agencies to promote conservation and enforce strict fishing and access regulations.

Fish Mongolia/Nomadic Journeys has been involved in the Delger Murun watershed since 2003. It has supported numerous community conservation projects, hosted taimen educational workshops with local herders and community members and hosted the Spirit of the River campaign to reach foreign and domestic anglers through educational outreach in the provincial capital of Khovsgol Aimag as well as at the Chinggis Khan International airport in Ulaanbaatar.

As a result of these efforts, both the Delger Murun and Onon/Balj watersheds are now designated as Taimen Sanctuaries. This globally innovative model protects nearly six-hundred kilometers of native taimen habitat and is predicated upon a conservation partnership between Nomadic Journeys and nine local communities. Within these riversheds, all fishing is strictly regulated with communities, government agents and the fly-fishing operator working in concert. The waters within the sanctuary are designated “catch and release for all anglers and “fly-fishing only” for all international anglers. All anglers must use single barbless hooks. These are the only waters that outlaw hatcheries and motorboats and the only that benefit from three kilometer streamside set-backs for all mining, commercial forestry, and permanent tourism infrastructure and development. Angler numbers within the Sanctuaries are strictly regulated to maintain both the quality of the fishery and the quality of the fishing experience.

Until recently, there has been no overarching organization to facilitate unified national action. In concert with the Mongolian government, a team of scientists and NGOs, and the dedicated fly-fishing ecotourism outfitters, the national Taimen Awareness Campaign was launched from steps already set in place by the groups described above. The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund awarded grants to the Tributary Fund, now Taimen Fund, to contribute to data collection in 2010, and in 2012 helped kick off the Campaign, creating national pride in this rare species as a national treasure in need of long-term conservation. The national pride campaign targets not only taimen anglers and residents in taimen habitat, but also builds national messaging on the importance of maintaining intact river systems that provide national cultural, economic, and ecological benefits. The first year of the campaign accomplished a great deal, including 1) broad distribution of brochures, logos and workshops in several taimen watersheds and with new fishing clubs, 2) articles and television interviews in the national media, 3) installation of posters at fishing access sites and 2 major airports, and most notably, 4) a pre- and post-campaign survey measuring change in attitude as a result of campaign delivery. The Taimen Fund serves as fiscal sponsor and manager of this campaign, which would not exist without a host of partners.