Gov’t scientists unsure why giant fish washing up dead on West Coast, “testing tissue for radiation” — “One dead oarfish is odd, two is a pattern” — PBS: “After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, there were accounts of several washing ashore”

Published: October 24th, 2013 at 3:27 am ET
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BBC, Oct. 23, 2013: Some Californians have been spooked by the rare appearance of oarfish washing up on the state’s beaches in the past week. The giant snake-like fish are linked to a number of myths, including one from Japan that says when it comes ashore, an earthquake will follow. [...] But scientists are doubtful of any link to increased tectonic activity, and have even tested the fish for radiation after leaks at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant. [...]

PBS, Oct. 23, 2013: [...] Searching for clues about the rare find, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center scientists on Monday performed a necropsy on the 14-foot specimen that washed up in northern San Diego County on Friday. The other specimen, discovered dead off Catalina, last week is being dissected and analyzed by University of California researchers. [...] “I don’t have a good guess as to what might be the cause of death,” said Suzanne Kohin, a NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center fish ecologist, who recovered the carcass over the weekend. “We are considering everything.” “Everything” includes testing tissue for radiation, algal toxins, PCBs and mercury. The press has been particular curious about whether earthquakes might have killed the oarfish, said Milton Love, a biologist at UC Santa Barbara, who said he spent the day talking to media. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, there were accounts of several of the animals washing ashore. [...] “The question is what could bring them up to the surface,” California Sea Grant Director James Eckman said. [...] “One dead oarfish is odd,” Eckman said. “Two is a pattern.” [...]

See also: CNN: Scientists puzzled as rare 'sea monsters' wash ashore in Southern California -- Expert: 2 giant oarfish and saber-toothed whale in a week... "What is going on?" (VIDEO)

Published: October 24th, 2013 at 3:27 am ET
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36 comments

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