Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bring Out Your Dead

This blog is about fish.

I can hear you now - again with the fish.

But this one is important though certainly not as fun as my fish tales that you should re-read HERE and HERE. Still, since it is important, it's worth a read. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water - it is.
A species of Japanese salmon thought to have been extinct for almost 70 years has been found alive and doing fine.

In a Canadian Press article written by Jay Alabaster and appearing on December 15, 2010, it was reported that the black kokanee (kunimasu) salmon (scientific name of oncorhynchus nerka kawamurae) is getting along swimmingly in Lake Saiko (Saiko-ko) - one of the five Fuji lakes near Fuji-yama (Mt. Fuji) near Tokyo.

Back in 1935, Japan began a hydroelectric project in and around the waters of Tazawa-ko (Lake Tazawa) the country's deepest lake located in Akita-ken (province of Akita).


This lake was the natural habitat for the landlocked sockeye salmon - and when the project began highly acidic water was introduced into Lake Tazawa from a nearby river to create more volume for hydroelectric power generation, the higher levels of acidic water began killing the kunimasu

Japan's Environment Ministry harvested about 100,000 kunimasu and took them to Lake Saito and Lake Biwa (Biwa-ko) in Shiga-ken. The goal was to ensure the species did not die out. Strangely enough, by 1948, the species was declared extinct. I'm guessing the water may not have been the same as to what the species was used to or food was limited, or a different set of predators.
   
Days ago, however, Professor Tetsuji Nakabo of Kyoto University along with Masayuki Miyazawa (also known as Sakana-kun or Mr. Fish) announced that his team of researchers found the fish after catching nine of the blackish trout from Lake Saito.

The kunimasu is a 30-centimetre (12-inch) long dark olive coloured fish with black spots on its back. It's not an ugly fish nor a pretty fish, but it is probably sad that everyone has discovered it's alive.

"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," says Nabako hoping that local fishermen would not attempt to catch it.

He noted that Lake Saito had enough kunimasu stock - implying that as long as current environmental situations remain stable, the fish should thrive.

The Environment Ministry has promised to look into the claim of the kunimasu's remarkable recovery but for now it is still officially extinct. That's probably good news for a fish craving some privacy. 

Somewhere this fish tale has a happy ending,
Andrew Joseph
Today's title is by Strung Out: PEPPY
There is some swearing in the song.

PS: The story also noted that there are quite a few other species - including shellfish and plants - that were re-discovered in Japan after being declared extinct. I looked and looked, however, and couldn't find an example of a rediscovered Japanese critter. Of course, something like 1/3 of all extinct animals et al is rediscovered after about four years after being declared extinct.
PPS: Here's what happens when you're in a hurry to make something extinct: DEAD - it's also the inspiration for the blog title.

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