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Ito fish species nearing extinction, research group warns

The Japan Times.gif

The Sakhalin taimen, a salmonid fish inhabiting Hokkaido and the Russian Far East and known as Ito in Japan, is facing extinction, a group of U.S. and Russian experts said Saturday.

The group estimates the population of the fish in major habitats in Russia has decreased by 98 percent to 99 percent in the last three or four decades.

It warned the situation will deteriorate further due to the Sakhalin-2 oil and natural gas development project in Russia and dam construction projects as well as water contamination in Hokkaido.

The Sakhalin taimen is on the endangered species lists of the Environment Ministry and the Hokkaido government.

Authorities have taken no significant measures to protect the fish and have not imposed effective restrictions on catch levels, prompting the experts to advocate protective measures.

"It is necessary for the protection of the Ito to ensure conservation of the environment in rivers" from their headwaters to their mouths, said Kaneaki Edo of the Japanese Huchen Conservation Network.

© The Japan Times

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