HOKKAIDO (TR) – Some 200 salmon cut open with their eggs removed were dumped in a river near a salmon hatchery, police said on Monday, amid rising salmon roe prices due to a poor fishing season.
The slain fish were found by a worker at the Shibetsu River Hatchery on Sunday morning in Shibetsu City, Hokkaido, TV Asahi reports (Nov. 21).
The stomachs of about 200 to 300 female salmon containing a total of some 100 kilograms of eggs were cut out and stolen, hatchery officials said, in what police are investigating as a case of suspected theft.
Police suspect the crime occurred sometime between 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the hatchery, which raises salmon on fenceless grounds accessible by anyone, NHK reported.
Yoshifumi Shimoshi, vice president of the hatchery, said he was “frustrated because those salmon were being raised for the hatchery business. I hope the culprit is quickly caught.”
“We have to do something so people can’t get in here,” Shimoshi said.
The hatchery was planning to hatch the eggs and raise them before releasing them next year.
Ikura salmon roe prices have been on the rise this fall, stemming from a poor salmon fishing season.