what we hold in common

[Long description: Kunimasu, or black kokanee (Oncorhynchus kawamurae) and ayu, or sweetfish (Plecoglossus altivelis.) One salmon and one sweetfish are alive and well, fat and happy as they skip over gentle waves. Another salmon and sweetfish trail them as ghosts.]

what we hold in common

April 1, 2021

Yesterday I learned of the kunimasu, a salmon endemic to Lake Tazawa in Japan. Around 1940, a hydroelectric dam made the lake so acidic that the endemic salmon could no longer survive. As a last ditch effort to save the salmon, kunimasu eggs were transported to Lake Saiko, near Mount Fuji. The experiment was thought to have failed—and the kunimasu declared extinct—until their rediscovery in Lake Saiko in 2010.

I included ayu in this piece in honor of the first dam removal in Japan, the removal of the Arase Dam. One of many consequences of the dam included loss of sweetfish in the Kuma river, hurting the local fishing community.

The impacts of damming and diversion can be so different from place to place, but I am always struck by how much of the story is familiar to me, someone who lives here in the American Southwest.