Japanese Murray cod

A Murray cod has been netted in Japan’s largest lake in the southwest of the country’s main island, Honshu.

According to a report in The Australian, an elderly fisherman caught the cod on October 14 and later found three local ayu (a small type of trout) in its stomach.

The man’s catch understandably left fisheries officials baffled until they found a picture of the iconic Australian freshwater fish in a textbook.

The 26cm cod was netted in about 1.5m of water. The surprised fisherman, Masayoshi Tourai, 78, turned his catch over to officials.

“I have been working here as a fisherman for 65 years and this (is the) first time that I have ever seen such a fish,” he said.

A fisheries official told The Australian it was the first time a Murray cod had been caught in the lake, but they had been sold in Japan as ornamental fish – despite that fact they grow to more than 100kg.

“Maybe some private collector purchased the fish while it was still small and the owner could not keep up with his eating habits or could not prepare a big enough tank to keep him,” he said.

The official said another possibility was that the cod had been released by sportfishers.

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