The black kokanee (“kunimasu” in Japanese), which has been presumed extinct for the last 70 years, has recently resurfaced in a lake around 310 miles south of its native lake.
Kyoto University professor Tetsuji Nakabo and his team of researchers have reportedly discovered live specimens swimming in Lake Saiko. The lake is in an area famed for its hot spring baths and views of nearby Mount Fuji.
The black kokanee was originally thought to have been wiped out when a hydroelectric project made its home waters too acidic. Apparently, some 100,000 eggs were transferred to Lake Saiko before the project was completed, though no one knew until now that any had successfully hatched.
Professor Nakabo says that there are enough fish in the lake to support ongoing reproduction, assuming water quality remains the same. He expressed his hope that anglers would avoid catching the fish.
The black kokanee grow to about 12 inches.
Kokanee are landlocked sockeye salmon.