Extremely Rare Japanese 'Tsunami Fish' Goes On Display on North Oregon Coast
(Seaside, Oregon) – Of all the tsunami debris from Japan that's arrived on the Oregon coast, this one is going to take the cake. (Photos Seaside Aquarium)
A boat from the Japanese tsunami of 2011 that landed on the Long Beach Peninsula of Washington last month had a few living surprises. One of them is a Striped Beakfish (Oplegnathus fasciatus), and it will go on display this weekend at the Seaside Aquarium on the north Oregon coast.
The Striped Beakfish literally traveled 4,000 miles to get here, taking two years to arrive in the northwest.
The Japanese fishing boat washed ashore at Long Beach on March 22. From there, one of the fish somehow made it into a bucket at City Hall in Long Beach. It was – and still is – in a good, healthy condition, said aquarium manager Keith Chandler.
Whether or not it is considered an invasive species, Chandler said he did not know, and both the wildlife departments from Washington and Oregon hadn't given him word on that as yet either.
“It was one of five fish that were in that boat,” Chandler said. “The others were euthanized. I do not know how Long Beach got hold of it. They just called me and said they had this in a bucket.”
Feeding on small crustaceans (barnacles, crabs, and shrimp), the Striped Beakfish can reach up to 15 inches in length. They inhabit the coral reefs of Japan and Korea.
Chandler didn't know how old the fish was or how long it might still live. Washington's Department of Ecology is studying the other fish to determine the age of those.
“I've been sitting on it for two weeks,” Chandler said. “We've had it in an isolation tank, awaiting word from ODFW.”
Chandler said he wanted to make sure he was doing everything right with this new fish after another aquarium in Portland encountered legal issues with the acquisition of some of their fish.
Aquarium staff may still name the fish, Chandler said.
This is the first and only time – so far – a live creature from the tsunami is being put on display. It is expected to create a massive media stir for Seaside and the Seaside Aquarium. Chandler has already been contacted by some network news organizations, and at least one TV news crew is camped out near the aquarium.
Seaside Aquarium is on the Prom in Seaside. 503-738-6211. http://www.seasideaquarium.com
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