The Taimen Fund was established in 2013 to continue earlier efforts by The Tributary Fund, ecotourism fly fishing companies, and international anglers to protect Mongolia’s wild taimen. Whereas taimen were once fishable by permit in Mongolia as recently as the mid-2000s, conservation efforts have since resulted in comprehensive taimen laws and regulations. In December 2005, the Mongolian government registered the taimen as a “rare” species, a species whose population is in severe decline and threatened with extinction. Since 2008, the law has mandated catch and release practice and required the use of single barbless hooks for all anglers fishing for taimen.
In the early 1990s, initial conservation efforts began when ecotourism fly fishing companies first arrived in Mongolia following its peaceful transition to democracy. Fly fishing outfitters Hovsgol Travel/Sweetwater Travel, Mongolia River Outfitters/Nomadic Journeys, and Fish Mongolia/Nomadic Journeys all began successful conservation-focused operations in highly productive taimen watersheds. All three outfitters have implemented successful taimen conservation strategies in their respective watersheds.
The Taimen Conservation Fund, a Mongolian-based NGO, has helped set up taimen outreach activities such as “Taimen Open Day” festivals in the Eg-Uur on behalf of local communities. The Tributary Fund, the predecessor of The Taimen Fund, also worked to bolster a strong program of outreach. The Tributary Fund initiated community engagement programs, including a children’s taimen education camp and local taimen science workshops, in the Eg-Uur.
The Tributary Fund, the predecessor of the Taimen Fund, hosted the first comprehensive taimen conservation meetings in 2010. The two Taimen Summits, one in the United States and one in Mongolia, included scientists, outfitters and stakeholders. In 2011, the U.S.-based non-profit Wild Salmon Center facilitated a Taimen Workshop in association with the annual Society for Conservation Biology symposium in New Zealand, where stakeholders gathered to identify research priorities, issues and collaborative actions. The need for public outreach rose to the top of the list and remains a priority of The Taimen Fund today.