Live fish found in boat from 2011 tsunami


A boat, believed to be debris from Japan's 2011 tsunami, washed up on a US beach 5,000 miles away - with five fish alive inside it!

Since the tsunami struck Japan, all kinds of debris has washed up on beaches in the US - including two floating docks.

This 20' Japanese skiff, named Saisho-Maru, was found near Long Beach, Washington. Inside what's thought to have once been a bait box were five Striped beakfish (Oplegnathus fasciatus), native to the waters of Japan.

The fish were found living alongside invertebrates such as anemones, crabs and a sea cucumber.

Washington State Fish and Wildlife Department biologists say that the water-filled compartment at the back of the upright boat appeared to have been enclosed at some point, but the lid was missing. It now had the appearance of an aquarium and there was a heavy growth of algae inside it.

The fish weren't confined to the bait box for the whole of their 5,000 mile journey. The boat was floating partially underwater, and it's thought the fish used it as a shelter to help them stay alive.

Invasive species specialists euthanised all but one of the beakfish. The fifth will go on display at the Seaside Aquarium in Oregon.

Seaside Aquarium's curator Keith Chandler said he was called to City Hall in Long Beach where he was shown the survivor swimming in a bucket.

"They didn’t want to let this fish go, and they didn’t want to let it die. They didn’t know what to do with it," he said. "So we decided to put it on display, where people can take a look at this long-distance traveler."

Staff at the aquarium have dubbed it "the tsunami fish."

This is the first time vertebrates have been found in tsunami debris but experts say it has raised questions as to whether other fish may have made such a journey unnoticed, managing to swim off before the debris made it to shore.

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