What is the Doomsday Fish? Fisherman worried after they catch an earthquake-predicting Oarfish

What is the Doomsday Fish? Fisherman worried after they catch an earthquake-predicting Oarfish
The oarfish aka doomsday fish is making rounds on social media due to its strange appearance (@EarthquakeChil1/Twitter video screenshot)

SINALOA, MEXICO: Fishermen in Mexico have created a buzz after catching an elusive deep-sea creature that is thought to be a portent of approaching earthquakes. It seems that the great white shark isn't the only sign of watery disaster. As watchers fear a potential earthquake catastrophe, a video showing the purported oceanic bad omen has received more than 200,000 views on Twitter.

The oarfish, which can grow to be 56 feet long and is the largest bony fish in the world, was caught in September 2022 off the coast of Sinaloa, Mexico, reported NYPost. The silvery creature, which has a blazing orange head tassel and a dorsal fin that runs the length of its long body, is seen in the accompanying video gasping and writhing in the bed of a pickup truck. The serpentine creature which dwells between 656 and 3,200 feet below the ocean's surface, is rarely seen, so viewers were astounded that they were able to capture it. Many others, however, remarked that the oarfish sighting indicated that there would soon be an earthquake. “Earthquake is coming,” declared one doomsayer, while another wrote, “We are all going to die!” “You don’t have to believe me, but in Chile that fish is a sign of a bad omen,” said one armchair apocalypticist. “Why don’t they return it to the water, the poor animal is struggling to breathe,” asked a concerned citizen. “Then they complain when they have a huge earthquake.”

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In Japanese folklore, oarfish are viewed as symbols of earthquakes and other natural disasters, which is the basis of this superstition about earthquakes. The slim plankton eater is said to purposefully rise to the surface and beach itself whenever they sense problems approaching, as per Japanese mythology. These fears got worsened during the 2011 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami when dozens of the pelagic animals had washed ashore in the two years prior to the disaster.

Experts have, however, debunked the myths that surround the arrival of the doomsday fish. “The link to reports of seismic activity goes back many, many years, but there is no scientific evidence of a connection, so I don’t think people need to worry,” explained Hiroyuki Motomura, a professor of ichthyology at Kagoshima University. “I believe these fish tend to rise to the surface when their physical condition is poor, rising on water currents, which is why they are so often dead when they are found.”

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