[env-trinity] The Japanese black kokanee thought extinct, found

Joshua Allen trinityjosh at gmail.com
Wed Dec 15 09:32:22 PST 2010


Scientist says he found Japan fish thought extinct
 By JAY ALABASTER, Associated Press Jay Alabaster, Associated Press –
Wed Dec 15,
2:36 am ET

TOKYO – A Japanese salmon species thought to be extinct for 70 years is
alive and well in a lake near Mount Fuji, a science professor said

The black kokanee, or "kunimasu" in Japanese, was thought to have died out
in 1940, when a hydroelectric project made its native lake in northern Akita
Prefecture more acidic.

Before then, 100,000 eggs were reportedly transported to Lake Saiko but the
species was still thought to have died off.

But Tetsuji Nakabo, a professor at Kyoto University, said his team of
researchers found the species in Lake Saiko, about 310 miles (500
kilometers) south of the native lake.

"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," he said.

He posed for pictures and video with a specimen that was dark olive with
black spots on its back. The kunimasu grow to about a foot (30 centimers) in

Nakabo said the lake had sufficent kunimasu for the species to survive if
the current environment is maintained, though he said in interviews he hoped
fishermen would not catch it.

Lake Saiko is in a region popular with tourists for its Fuji views and hot
spring baths.

The salmon is still listed as extinct in the public records of the
Environment Ministry. Yobukaze Naniwa, an official at the ministry, said
Nakabo's claim would be investigated before records are due to be updated in

Other species, including shellfish and plants, have also been discovered in
Japan after being declared extinct, Naniwa said.
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