An Oarfish was found ashore in Barangay Rojales, Carmen, Agusan del Norte, on February 15.
Photo: Elesa Rosé Jane Allocod

Philippines: In the know: Can Oarfish predict earthquakes?
By Nicko Tubo, 20th February 2017;

Days before and after the 6.7-magnitude earthquake that devastated Surigao City and its nearby provinces, multiple sightings of giant Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) in Mindanao were reported.

On February 8, two days before the earthquake that killed eight people and injured more than 200, a 10-foot long Oarfish was found ashore in Carmen, Agusan del Norte, which is located approximately 168 kilometers away from Surigao City.

Since the first sighting, five more Oarfish were found ashore off Mindanao’s northern coast. The latest sighting was last February 18, when a 20-foot Oarfish was found in Barangay Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City. The sea creature was still alive when found by the residents, but it died later.

The sightings have sparked debates and discussions on social media, on whether the sea creature can predict earthquakes.

But do Oarfish have the ability to predict earthquakes?

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Oarfish are the longest bony fish in the sea, growing to 50 feet or more in length.

Oarfish, commonly mistaken as sea serpents, are rare but can be found in areas with tropical and temperate waters like the Philippines. The creature lives near the sea bottom at about 3,000 feet.

NOAA said that not much is known about the habits and life of Oarfish, but most of them come to the surface when injured or dying.

An article posted in National Geographic website said that Oarfish are known in Japan as the “Messenger from the Sea God’s Palace.” According to folklore, if many of the fish wash up, an earthquake is coming.

Kiyoshi Wadatsumi, a scientist who studies earthquakes, said in an article posted on Japan Times that “deep-sea fish living near the sea bottom are more sensitive to the movements of active faults than those near the surface of the sea.”

In a 2010 report of the Daily Telegraph, the appearance of more than a dozen of Oarfish in Japan was followed by destructive earthquakes in Chile, Haiti, and southern Taiwan.

“In ancient times, Japanese people believed that fish warned of coming earthquakes, particularly catfish,” Hiroshi Tajihi, deputy director of the Kobe Earthquake Centre, said in the same report of the Daily Telegraph.

Tajihi, however, said there is no scientific relationship between the sightings and an earthquake.

“These are just old superstitions,” he said.

Rachel Grant, a lecturer in animal biology at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, said in an article posted on the Independent news website in October 2013 that the Japanese traditional belief might be true.

“It’s theoretically possible because when an earthquake occurs, there can be a build-up of pressure in the rocks which can lead to electrostatic charges that cause electrically-charged ions to be released into the water,” said Grant.

Grant, however, said that Oarfish sightings can also be caused by other factors not connected with earthquakes.

“It may be due to seismic activity or it may be due to other factors unconnected with earthquakes, such as infrasound caused by underwater activities, such as military submarines, or pollution,” she said.

Experts have different perspectives, but as far as seismologists are concerned, more studies are needed to prove that Oarfish can predict earthquakes.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology also said there are no scientific instruments that can predict when an earthquake will occur.

Source: Sun.Star

More photos of the Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) that was recently found at Cagayan de Oro.

Source: Carol Nabale Cañete Facebook

More photos from various Facebook users of the Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) that was recently found in Cagayan de Oro.

Sources: Xander Zu Facebook, Honey Lucille Q. Cui-Sanmillan Facebook, Lou Ray Anilom Facebook, Joilyn Paguidian Dayaday Facebook, Enz Rolluqui Samson Facebook, Proud Bisaya Facebook, and Rica Amora Facebook

Another dead Oarfish washed ashore in Barangay Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City.
Photo: Jude Cyril Roque Viernes

Philippines: 6th dead Oarfish found in Cagayan de Oro

By Pia Noreen Bilar & Pamela Jay F. Orias, 19th February 2017;

A 20-foot long Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) was found in Barangay Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City, around 4 p.m., Saturday, February 18, three days after the fifth sea creature was seen off the coast of Agusan del Norte.

According to Marlo Tabac, Gusa barangay chairman, the elongated fish was still alive when found by residents but later died.

Netizen Clark Ian Richardson, meanwhile, posted a video of Oarfish, barely breathing, being surrounded by people.

Jude Cyril Roque Viernes also posted on Facebook photos of the dead fish.

Tabac said the fish had numerous cuts in its body when found .

Oarfishes are large, elongated fishes which dwell at a depth of 200 to 1000 meters (660 to 3300 feet). It is the longest bony fish alive, growing to up to 11 meters (36 feet) in length.

This is the sixth Oarfish found dead in the Philippines from January this year.

On February 15, a 10-foot long dead sea-serpent washed off the shore of Barangay Rojales, Agusan del Norte.

The first Oarfish, which was 10-foot long, was found on February 8, two days before the 6.7-magnitude earthquake that hit Surigao City.

It is said that in Japan, the Oarfish is known as a “messenger from the Sea God’s Palace.”

Photos of dead Oarfishes have sparked debates over the internet, as some said the fish have been known to forecast earthquakes.

Renato Solidum Jr., director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology told SunStar Philippines that the probability of another strong earthquake is low but the agency is not disregarding it.

Source: Sun.Star

An Oarfish washed ashore in Barangay Gusa, Cagayan de Oro Saturday afternoon.
Photo: Jude Cyril Roque Viernes

Philippines: Another Oarfish washed ashore in Cagayan de Oro
By Greanne Mendoza, 19th February 2017;

An Oarfish was washed ashore in Barangay Gusa, Cagayan de Oro Saturday afternoon.

According to Jude Cyril Roque Viernes, who posted the photos on Facebook, the fish, about 15 feet long, was found alive but later died.

Viernes also wrote that residents are afraid that the discovery forebodes an earthquake striking the city.

Some experts believe that deep-sea fish are capable of sensing tremors on the Earth’s crust.

According to Kiyoshi Wadatsumi, in a statement published by Japan Times, such aquatic creatures are more sensitive to the movements of faults.

Days before the magnitude-6.7 quake in Surigao City, an Oarfish was also caught off the shore of Agusan del Norte.

Another Oarfish, meanwhile, was seen along the coast of Barangay Rojales in Carmen, Agusan del Norte.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Photos: Jude Cyril Roque Viernes Facebook

Philippines: Another Oarfish found on Cagayan de Oro shore
19th February 2017;

An Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) was found along the shore of Barangay (village) Gusa in Cagayan de Oro on Saturday afternoon.

In a Facebook post, Jude Cyril Roque Viernes said the scale-less and silvery fish was about 15 meters long (Based on the photos, 15 feet is more likely; 15 metres would be a record holder). It was found alive but later died.

Oarfish was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest bony fish to be recorded in 2015. Mature Oarfish have an average length of 6 meters.

The fish got its name because its long pectoral fins resemble oars. It is also called the King of Herrings because of their resemblance to the smaller Herrings and fishes.

An Oarfish was also washed ashore in Agusan del Norte last week days before a 6.7-magnitude quake hit Surigao City.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

An Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) was found in Gusa, Cagayan de Oro today.

Source: Jude Cyril Roque Viernes Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

Photos from Kaye Junice Lala Mercado Facebook

Philippines: Rare Megamouth Shark surfaces in Cagayan De Oro waters
By Joel Locsin, 23rd March 2015;

A 12-foot-long specimen of the very rare Megamouth Shark (Megachasma pelagios) was found dead off Barangay Bayabas in Cagayan de Oro City last weekend.

The shark got tangled in the net of fisherman Jojo Cabatuan last Saturday, GMA Northern Mindanao reported Monday.

Kung iiwan naming sa dagat, mangangamoy lang din yan. Ngayon lang ako nakakita ng Megamouth Shark sa 38 years ko bilang mangingisda,” said Cabatuan.

Local residents buried the shark, as shown in a photo by GMA Northern Mindanao’s Kaye Mercado.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said the Megamouth Shark is a deepwater-dwelling shark.

It said the shark found last Saturday measured 12 by 2 feet, and weighed about one ton.

BFAR experts theorized the shark may have been looking for food and got near the surface.

Meanwhile, some wounds were found on the shark’s body, which may have been caused by it getting tangled in the net.

Previous sighting off Albay

Last January, a Megamouth Shark measuring 15 feet died off Albay. Due to its rarity, the creature caused a sensation among locals and the scientific community alike.

The shark was believed to have died after it was trapped in a fishing net for several hours at Barangay Marigondon in Pio Duran town, GMA News stringer Michael Jaucian reported.

The Megamouth Shark is one of the rarest sharks, discovered only in 1975 and with just a handful of documented sightings since then.

Source: GMA News Online

Wounded dolphin washes ashore on CDO coast

By Joel Locsin, 16th February 2015;

A wounded dolphin washed ashore at a barangay in Cagayan de Oro City on Sunday, days after local fishermen sighted it in the area.

The dolphin measured two meters long and had been seen in the area a few days before it washed ashore, GMA Northern Mindanao’s Joane Tabique reported Monday.

Local barangay officials summoned “Bantay Dagat” teams to keep watch over it after seeing the wounds on the dolphin’s back, and after noting the dolphin was not moving.

Residents theorized the dolphin may have been struck by a sharp object.

They have also notified the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources for immediate action.

Source: GMA News Online

Wounded dolphin washes ashore on CDO coast

Philippines: Dead Green Turtle recovered off Cagayan de Oro

By Joel Locsin, 17th September 2014;

A dead Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) was recovered off the shore of the Lower Bantiles area in Barangay Bugo in Cagayan de Oro City Tuesday noon.

The turtle was brought to the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, GMA Northern Mindanao’s Kaye Mercado reported.

The PAWB determined the turtle was a female Green Sea Turtle about 33 years old. It was 105 cm tall and 70 cm wide, and weighed 50 kg.

However, authorities have yet to determine the cause of the turtle’s death.

Local barangay officials had the turtle buried because of the foul smell from its decomposing body.

Wildlife researcher Ranoray Love Noro added it is hard to determine the cause of death because the body had begun to decompose.

Source: GMA News Online

Philippines: Dead Green Turtle recovered off Cagayan de Oro