Kunimasu Fish: A Salmon Species Thought To Be Extinct By Japan Government Found In Lake Saiko By Tetsuji Nakabo

By on Dec 17, 2010 in Animals, Science, World Comments
Kyoto University professor Tetsuji Nakabo
Professor Tetsuji Nakabo holding a
believed “kunimasu,” or black kokanee

Image Credit: The Japan Times Online
Kyoto Photo

A scientist and his team from Kyoto University have been reported on Wednesday to have found Kunimasu, a salmon species that were believed to be extinct in Japan for 70 years.

Reports said that Black Kokanee or Kunimasu in Japanese has been extinct since 1940. They thought that Kunimasu had died out when the water in Lake Tazawa in Akita Prefecture became more acidic due to a construction of hydroelectric projects undertaken in the lake.

According to reports, before the incident happened there were records found that 100,000 eggs of Kunimasu fish were taken to Lake Saiko and Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture to develop their stocks. However, it was also believed that the species have all died out.

A science professor named Tetsuji Nakabo of Kyoto University said that his team found the Kunimasu salmon species in Lake Saiko, about 310 miles (500 kilometers) south of the native lake.

Nakabo examined the nine fishes from the lake and said that the characteristics matched those of the “Kunimasu” or Black Kokanee, salmon species.

“I was really surprised. This is a very interesting fish, it’s a treasure. We have to protect it and not let it disappear again,” Nakabo was quoted saying.

Meanwhile, the Environment Ministry said that they will try to verify Nakabo‘s claim and review its classification of the species.

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