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Food Ayu アユ

Ayu (アユ) is the Japanese term for sweetfish.



The ayu sweetfish (Plecoglossus altivelis), ayu (アユ, 鮎, 年魚, 香魚) or sweetfish, is a species of fish. It is the only species in the genus Plecoglossus and family Plecoglossidae. It is a relative of the smelts and other fish in the order Osmeriformes. Native to East Asia, it is distributed in the northwestern Pacific Ocean along the coast of Hokkaidō in Japan southward to the Korean Peninsula, China, Hong Kong and northern Vietnam. It is amphidromous, moving between coastal marine waters and freshwater lakes and rivers. A few landlocked populations also exist in lakes in Japan such as Biwa. Original wild populations in Taiwan became extinct in 1968 due to pollution and at present extant populations were reintroduced from Japan in the 1990s. The name "sweetfish" was inspired by the sweetness of its flesh. In reference to its typical one-year lifespan, it is also written as 年魚 ("year-fish"). Some individuals live for two to three years. The ayu is the prefectural fish of Gunma Prefecture and Gifu Prefecture.

Japanese fishers also catch it using cormorant fishing. On the Nagara River where Japanese cormorants (Phalacrocorax capillatus) are used by the fishermen, the fishing season draws visitors from all over the world. The Japanese cormorants, known in Japanese as umi-u (ウミウ, "sea-cormorant"), are domesticated birds trained for this purpose. The bird catches the ayu, stores it in its crop, and delivers it to the fishermen. Ayu is also fished commercially, and captive juveniles are raised in aquaculture before being released into rivers for sport fishing.



Kanji: 鮎,香魚, 年魚, 銀口魚
Kana: アユ
Romaji: ayu

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