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Japanese Fishing Boat Washes Up near Cannon Beach, Oregon Coast - No Invasive Species

Published 12/06/2017 at 5:55 AM PDT - Updated 12/06/2017 at 2:15 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Japanese Fishing Boat Washes Up on N. Oregon Coast, near Cannon Beach

(Oregon Coast) – Tempests and tides have brought a good number of remarkable things to the Oregon coast in recent weeks, and the latest wild find was a Japanese fishing boat that washed ashore at Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site just south of Cannon Beach. The 38-foot vessel came up on the beach on December 2, and almost immediately state officials were there in various capacities, include salvage personnel and a biologist checking for invasive species. (Wreck photos courtesy Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium).

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Tiffany Boothe of the Seaside Aquarium was one of those on the scene within a couple days of its arrival.

“The boat was covered in large pelagic gooseneck barnacles, which indicated it had been floating out at sea for quite some time,” Boothe said. “Pelagic gooseneck barnacles are a species of barnacles that only attach to drifting debris. You will often see them attached to driftwood.

John Chapman, a biologist with the Hatfield Marine Science Center out of Newport, arrived soon after the wreck did, looking for any biological problems that may have hitched a ride. Chapman told Oregon Coast Beach Connection he found nothing of interest that was still alive.

Boothe was surprised to find nothing else but the barnacles.

“Usually we find at least drifter crabs or something,” she said.

While the ship is clearly from Japan, it is not positive it's a remnant of tsunami debris from the 2011 earthquake. Boothe said that's mostly likely the case, however it could have been in the Pacific gyre – a giant floating patch of garbage in the middle of the Pacific ocean – for a number of years before the tsunami.

Recent storms and shifting currents could've knocked it out of the great garbage patch. In fact it's quite likely that even if the ship was from the tsunami, it was stuck in that gyre for a few years before being shaken loose, Boothe said.

According to U.S. Coast Guard (USGC) officials, the USGC responded to the wreck immediately, finding a small sheen, but no extractable fuel or oil.

No other item of interest was found on the boat, Boothe said, except for the remnants of a winch and pulley system, likely used to haul larger cargo to and from the vessel.

“It wasn't used for crab pots – not this kind of boat,” Boothe said. Where to stay in this area - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

As of Tuesday night the boat is still there – and likely will be for a little while. The state of Oregon will foot the bill for salvaging the vessel: in this case that means it becomes scrap and will not go to any museum, as some boats have in recent years. More on Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site.

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