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This Giant Deep Sea Fish Washed Up Ashore After an Earthquake

It was caught in Eastern Samar.
IMAGE Ranilo Ebron / Philippine News Agency
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An oarfish was found dead by local villagers in Agusan del Norte last week soon after the earthquake that hit Masbate province. According to folklore, oarfish being washed ashore is a bad omen. Nowadays, marine scientists will tell you that since the oarfish is a deep sea dwelling fish, any seismic or deep underwater volcanic activity will send these fish into a frenzy and disorient them so badly that they might end up washing up ashore.

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On Tuesday, August 17, Masbate and some parts of Eastern Visayas reported a massive earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6 in the Richter scale. The quake caused havoc in many of these towns and damaging property.

The quiet fishing village of Santa Monica in Tubabao Island in the town of Oras, Eastern Samar was not spared either. The Philippine News Agency reported that a huge opah fish weighing 65 kilos washed ashore soon after the earthquake. The fish, also known as a moonfish, was caught by fisherman Armando Amos. 

According to Juan Albaladejo, Director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) 8 located in Eastern Visayas, the opah fish might have been “spooked” by the earthquake, causing it to surface on shallow waters. The fish is a deep-water species which usually lives around 500 meters deep under the sea.

“This was quite a revelation, seeing this magnificent fish,” the PNA quoted Albaladejo as saying. “We know that it is quite abundant in our eastern seaboard, usually schooling with highly migratory tuna species but rarely seen.”

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Opah is a short name given to the fish with scientific name Lampris guttatus. A warm-blooded species, the fish have also established themselves as a high-performance predator underwater that are able to see, and swim better compared to other fish. Opah is one of the most expensive fishes available in the market and is used to make sashimi.

According to the PNA, fishermen sold the fish at the local market at P200 per kilo.

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