IUCN threat status:

Critically Endangered (CR)


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Hucho perryi

The Sakhalin taimen (Hucho perryi), also called the sea-run taimen, stringfish, Japanese huchen, or ito, is a species of fish in the salmon family (Salmonidae) of order Salmoniformes.


Sakhalin taimen is one of largest, most ancient salmon species and primarily inhabits the lower to middle reaches of lakes and rivers. Fish over 30 cm long are almost exclusively piscivores, while the young feed mostly on aquatic insects. Females typically lay between 2,000 and 10,000 eggs in the spring on the sandy or gravelly river bottom.[1] The average specimens caught have weighed around 5 kg (11 lb).[2] The largest fish caught was recorded at 9.45 kg / 20 lb 13 oz (IGFA world record). According to the unauthorized record of Japan, a fish with length of 2.10 cm was captured in 1937 from the Tokachi River, Hokkaidō. This species of fish is able to change its own sex for mating.


Sakhalin taimen are found in the Northwest Pacific: Sakhalin Island (Russia), the Island of Hokkaidō (Japan), and parts of the far eastern Russian mainland. An anadromous form is located near the eastern shores of Hokkaido.


The global population of Sakhalin taimen has dwindled in recent years for a variety of reasons. The loss of more than 50% of their original habitat due to agriculture, urbanization, and more recently, oil and gas development, is a major factor. Other considerable pressures include bycatch in the commercial salmon fisheries of Russia and Japan, as well as illegal fishing practices in Russia. The fish are also prized as trophies by Japanese recreational anglers.[3] In Japan, this species is bred for game-fishing at managed fishing sites, and raised fish are available for purchase. However, the species remains critically endangered.


In 2006, the IUCN listed Hucho perryi as critically endangered based on the assessment completed by the Salmonid Specialist Group. This designation represents the highest potential risk of global extinction to the species. The assessment revealed that the range-wide population has dropped in size to less than 5% of historic levels.[4]

Appearances in popular culture[edit]

  • In the Nintendo GameCube videogame Animal Crossing and subsequent sequels, Hucho Perryi (under the name Stringfish) is a rare fish that can be caught in the river, and sold for 15,000 bells - one of only four fish that can be sold for that amount.

In the movie Tsuribaka Nisshi 20: Final is a scene where a hot spring hotel owner and fishing guide talks about the importance of this fish after a guest says he would like to catch one before he dies. The guide tells him he hopes he dies first. Later the guest does catch one, but releases it.


  1. ^ Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea and W.B. Scott, 1991. World fishes important to North Americans. Exclusive of species from the continental waters of the United States and Canada. Am. Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ. (21):243 p.(from fishbase, Hucho perryi)
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Rand, Pete, PhD. "Ancient, Giant Salmon in Asia Edging Towards Extinction" Wild Salmon Center, May 23, 2006.
  4. ^ Rand, Pete, PhD. "Ancient, Giant Salmon in Asia Edging Towards Extinction" Wild Salmon Center, May 23, 2006.


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