Jump in sightings of rare deep-sea fish leave Japanese experts perplexed

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Jump in sightings of rare deep-sea fish leave Japanese experts perplexed

A mysterious fish that lives deep below the ocean’s surface has been popping up in the waters of Toyama Bay, causing marine experts to scratch their heads.

A deep-sea slender oarfish was caught in a fixed net about 1 kilometer off Imizu, Toyama Prefecture, on Monday and delivered to the Uozu Aquarium in Uozu in the prefecture. That makes three fish caught in Toyama Bay just this month, as two slender oarfish were also found on Jan. 19 in waters off Imizu and Namerikawa.

Slender oarfish live at a depth of 200 to 300 meters, and are characterized by long silvery-white bodies and red fins. The fish is called “Ryugu no tukai” in Japanese, meaning “messenger from the palace of the dragon king.”

Monday’s fish is 394.8 centimeters long, the 4th longest to be found in Toyama Prefecture. According to the aquarium, 20 slender oarfish have been found in Toyama Bay since the first confirmed sighting there in 2009. Four fish were found in 2015, the most in a single year.

“[Finding several in a row] is said to be the forerunner of an earthquake or to be influenced by ocean temperatures, but research is scarce and we don’t know the cause,” said Satoshi Kusama, 35, a caretaker at Uozu Aquarium.

According to the prefecture’s Fisheries Research Institute, the water temperature on the surface of Toyama Bay this month is several degrees higher than usual, while temperatures at a depth of about 200 to 300 meters are slightly below average.

Though already dead, the fish is in good condition and will be exhibited on February 2 and 3 at the aquarium.Speech

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Publication Date
Wed, 01/30/2019 - 16:30