January 8, 2011 by staff 

Salmon, AP) – A species of Japanese salmon thought to be extinct in 70 years is living in a lake near Mount Fuji, a science teacher, said Wednesday.

Kokanee black, or “kunimasu” in Japanese, it was thought to have disappeared in 1940 when a hydroelectric project has made the water more acidic lake in his native northern prefecture of Akita.

Before that date, 100,000 eggs were transported to Lake Saiko, but the species is still to have been killed off.

But Tetsuji Nakabo, professor at Kyoto University, said his research team has found the species in Lake Saiko, about 310 miles (500 kilometers) south of the lake home. He asked with what he said was a fresh specimen for the TV cameras and photographers.

“I was really surprised it is a very interesting fish -. Is a treasure we must protect it and not let it disappear again,” he said.

Nakabo said there were many kunimasu in the lake and the species should be fine if the environment is maintained. Saiko Lake is a popular region with tourists for its views and Fuji baths.

Salmon is still regarded as missing in the public records of the Ministry of Environment. Yobukaze Naniwa, a ministry official, said Nakabo claim would be considered before cases are due to be updated in 2012.

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

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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