28 Feb 2019
More than 12 rare oarfish were caught in different islands of Japan this year.
Now that’s a worrying news, especially for Japan.
That is because, according to Japanese folklore, the oarfish are rare and known to be the harbinger of natural disasters.
To give a perspective, before the 2011 tsunami in Japan, dozens of oarfish were seen just a year earlier.
Oarfish have large bodies and red fins like a dragon
Notably, oarfish reside 200-1,000 meters below the surface of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans.
The oarfish have serpentine silvery bodies and are large and elongated in size.
Their fins are red in color, giving them a dragon-like appearance.
It’s said that they shift to shallower seas ahead of underwater earthquakes, possibly because of electromagnetic changes which are caused by tectonic activity.
Dozens of oarfish were seen a year before 2011 tsunami
In 2010, a year before the devastating Fukushima tsunami-earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku in northeast Japan, in which more than 20,000 lost their lives and many went missing, dozens of oarfish were seen on Japan’s coastline. This only made the myth stronger.
Two oarfish were caught last month, both died subsequently
The oarfish are known as ‘Ryugu no tsukai’ or ‘Messenger from the Sea God’s Palace’ in Japanese.
On January 28, two oarfish of 3.6 and 4 meters were caught in a net alive near the Okinawa island.
Unfortunately, the fishes died while they were on their way to an aquarium.
One of them was found torn in half when it was being unloaded.
Fishes’ remains are to be preserved as specimens
The dead fishes’ remains will be preserved as specimens.
Now, their discovery, along with the other oarfish, has sparked a new fear on social media, which feels a disaster is about to hit Japan.
“I had only ever heard stories about this fish. When I saw them at the port, I was quite shocked,” Takashi Yamauchi, the Yomitan Fisheries Cooperative Association, told media.
Experts dismiss the mythical link between oarfish sightings and disasters
However, experts have quashed the theories.
Also, no scientific relationship has been found between oarfish sightings and natural disasters.
Satomi Higa of the Yomitan Fisheries Cooperative Association said, “They look mysterious and beautiful,” probably that’s how the myth started.
Kasuza Saiba, Uozu Aquarium keeper, reasons changes in Earth’s crust or global warming could “cause the current to stir and push creatures to the surface.”