The Shei-Pa National Park Headquarters has invited the public to watch captive-bred Formosan landlocked salmon parr being released into the endangered fish’s natural habitat tomorrow and Saturday.
Everyone is welcome to attend “Taking Young Salmon Home,” an activity that has taken place for the last two years, said Liao Lin-yen (廖林彥), director of the park’s Wuling (武陵) station.
Liao said that 350 salmon parr — juvenile salmon aged more than a year old — will be released in the Luoyehwei (羅葉尾) section of Yousheng Creek (有勝溪), the Yikawan (伊卡丸) section of Dajia River (大甲溪) and in Sijielan Creek (司界蘭溪).
He expressed the hope that the release of the salmon will allow people to see the national treasure in the nation’s rivers once again and that the young fish would survive this summer’s typhoons. He said in the past two years, only 1 percent of the parr that had been released were thought to have survived typhoon season.
The conservation measures are aimed at expanding the breeding territory of the fish in the wild. Liao said the number of Formosan landlocked salmon that exist in the wild is about 3,500, all of which live in Cijiawan Creek (七家灣溪) in Wuling.
The creek provides a stable environment for the delicate fish, Liao said, adding that the park authorities want to establish breeding colonies in other suitable areas.
Formosan landlocked salmon were originally migratory fish that lived in the frigid-temperate zone of the northern hemisphere. During the breeding season, they would swim upstream from the ocean to the upper reaches of the river where they were born. There they would mate and spawn. After the eggs hatched, the juvenile fish would return to the ocean, where they would grow to maturity before returning to the river of their birth to repeat the cycle.
Having evolved over thousands of years to survive all year round in Taiwan’s river systems without migrating to the sea, the species is now only found in Taiwan and was listed as a precious natural resource in 1994.