Masu Salmon An Introduction
Masu salmon (Oncorhynchus masou) is also known as sema, sima, cherry salmon or cherry trout.
Much like Pacific Kokanee, which is a landlocked Coho, seema salmon also have a landlocked subspecies called Taiwanese salmon or Formosan salmon (Oncorhynchus masou formosanum) that exists in Taiwan.
While the Masu Salmon is not considered an endangered species, the Formosan Salmon is considered endangered. As you can see from the classification scale, the Formosan Salmon is at the far end of the threatened scale, and classified as critically threatened, one step before being classified as extinct.
When a species is considered extinct status EW, there are not considered to be enough members of the population to carry the species out of endangered status.
Masu Salmon Distribution
These salmon are a species that reside only on the Asian side of the Pacific ocean and even there, their distribution is rather limited. The Masu Salmon can be found in the rivers and streams of north and central Japan, the west coast of South and North Korea and the Coast of China including the Sea of Japan.
Masu Salmon Habitat
Masu Salmon live in warmer water than other Pacific Salmon. Other Pacific Salmon do not like warm water, seeking out cold water around 53F. Another difference between the Masu Salmon and other Pacific Salmon is that it spawns in the spring and summer instead of in the fall like other Pacific Salmon.
The Masu Salmon can survive and does live in fresh water that is land locked. These fish are called Yamame and can survive multiple spawning cycles unlike the sea going Masu.
Fishing for Masu Salmon
The Masu Salmon is caught after by sport fisherman in Japan and south Asia. A successful commercial fish industry has also been built up around the Masu Salmon where the flesh of the Masu is very popular in Japan, a country that loves its fish.
Cherry Salmon Size
The average weight of a Masu Salmon is 2 to 3 kilograms/4.4 to 6.6 pounds. However, they can easily grow to, and have been caught up to, 19 pounds/8.5 kg.