Wed, Mar 20, 2019 - Page 14 News List

Formosan landlocked salmon conservation a success
櫻花鉤吻鮭保育有成 國寶魚數量創新高

Formosan landlocked salmon is a species endemic to Taiwan.

Photo courtesy of a reader

Salmon is a migratory fish, born in an upstream river freshwater environment, from where it migrates to the sea. The adult fish then swims back upstream to the place of its birth to reproduce. It is a cold-water fish, living in temperate zones.

A species left over from the Ice Age

Formosan landlocked salmon is a subspecies of the Pacific salmon, living in subtropical Taiwan. This makes the subspecies endemic to Taiwan. The mountain formation that took place 15,000 years ago, at the end of the Ice Age, blocked the way to the sea. This is how the salmon became landlocked.

Formosan landlocked salmon is, then, unique to Taiwan’s mountain rivers, a relic of the Ice Age. It is an example of an “ice age relic species,” a rare “living fossil.” It is known as a “national treasure fish.”

Extinction crisis

Formosan landlocked salmon thrives in rivers 2,000 meters above sea level, in waters not exceeding 17 degrees Celsius throughout the year. During the winter months, temperatures of about 10 degrees Celsius are needed for breeding. Large volumes of fresh, uncontaminated water are also crucial.

In 1995, the numbers of Formosan landlocked salmon had dwindled to 200. The species was on the verge of extinction.

According to the Shei-Pa Park Administration Office, typhoon flooding and fragmented habitats caused by global warming, as well as farming activity, have all taken their toll on the survival of Formosan landlocked salmon.

Shei-Pa Park conservation efforts

Since its establishment in 1992, the Shei-Pa National Park has been actively engaged in conservation efforts. Through cultivation and restoring the historical habitat, the Formosan landlocked salmon in the Qijiawan River can now reproduce. According to the latest research, published on March 15, there are now 5,059 Formosan landlocked salmon in the river. This is close to the river’s maximum capacity of 5,800. This species, with its long history, can once more thrive in Taiwan.


1. migratory fish phr.

洄游性魚類 (hui2 you2 xing4 yu2 lei4)

2. reproduce; breed v.

繁殖 (fan2 zhi2)

3. landlocked adj.

陸封型的 (lu4 feng1 xing2 de5)

4. relic species; living fossil phr.

孑遺生物 (jie2 yi2 sheng1 wu4)

5. extinction n.

絕種 (jue2 zhong3)

(Translated by Lin Lee-kai, Taipei Times)












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