November 14, 2007
Three taimen line up at the bottom of northern Mongolia's Eg River.
The gigantic fish is the world's largest salmonidthe family of fish that includes salmon and trout. The species can live for more than 50 years, but they grow slowly, not reaching maturity until seven to nine years of age, experts say.
Taimen migrate to their spawning habitat and can travel as much as 60 miles (97 kilometers) up- and downstream.
But scientists using radio and acoustic tagging have shown that the fish generally stay in one place.
"That makes them vulnerable to harvest because people will know where to go to hunt for big fish," said Zeb Hogan, a fisheries biologist at the University of Nevada in Reno.
Earlier this year Hogan launched the Megafishes Project
, a three-year effort funded by the National Geographic Society to document the 20-some species of giant freshwater fish found around the world
. (National Geographic News is owned by the National Geographic Society.)
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Photograph courtesy Zeb Hogan/ WWF Conservation Science Fellow/National Geographic Emerging Explorer