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 Wednesday. The Japanese fishing industry plans on killing all the fish and eating them a rare sushi.
“This is fish is so rare that we can get $10,000 a bite for it,” said a typical non-environmentally caring Japanese restaurnt owner. “I can make a lot of money so we are going to kill all the fish and make them extinct again.”
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 but the species survived and according to people whi like sushi, the added acidity of the fish’s flesh makes it have an added kick when dipped in wasabi.
Before then, 100,000 eggs were reportedly transported to Lake Saiko but the species was still thought to have died off, but now that it is found the plan is to make a special dish where they stuff a whale with 5,000 of these fish and bake it at 400 degrees for 23 days. initial plans for spices are being discussed.
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. “But we must eat it anyway — we cannot resist because we are killers of animals — especially endangered ones.”
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 length. Why he killed the specimen is anybody’s guess, but this is why we had to blast these people off the map in 1945.
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. He prefers that people who own restaurants catch it so they can make a “rotta” money
Lake Saiko is in a region popular with tourists for its Fuji views and hot spring baths — now it is home to the rarest sushi — get ’em while they are not extinct again.