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Governor Mashkovtsev of the Russian province of Kamchatka signed a decree authorizing a 544,000 acre salmon refuge located along the southwestern Kamchatka Peninsula. Working with the United Nations Development Programme, the Wild Salmon Center targeted the Kol River because it contains all six native Pacific salmon species, as well as steelhead, trout, and char.
"The Kol may be the first whole-river refuge created specifically to protect wild salmon and their environment," states Wild Salmon Center President, Guido Rahr. "This refuge serves as the centerpiece of an international conservation effort between the Wild Salmon Center, UNDP, and Russian partners."
The territory of the Kol River Refuge includes no human settlements and is extremely productive, with annual runs of over five million fish. The refuge also safeguards brown bears, snow sheep, Steller's sea eagles, waterfowl, and dozens of other species that rely on the salmon-supported ecosystem.
Because of its pristine condition and diversity, the Kol River will be a world-class research site. The Wild Salmon Center and partner organizations will prepare a master plan for operation of the refuge with an inventory of species, discussions with inhabitants about traditional subsistence uses, and a plan for long-term administration of the refuge."