Exotic fish from Eastern Asia spotted in Port Orford, Oregon

A fish that is endemic to Eastern Asian countries such as Japan, China and Korea was found swimming freely in crab pot close to Port Orford.

The exotic fish is now being studied by a team of scientists from Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Scientists says that the strange emergence of the striped knifejaw off the waters of Oregon, could’ve been or could not have been connected with the powerful tsunami that pummeled Japan in 2011 and to date there is no evidence that the fish species is spawning here.

An aquatic invasive species specialist, John Chapman said, “Some association with Japanese tsunami debris is a strong possibility, but we cannot rule out other options, such as the fish being carried over in ballast water of a ship or an aquarium fish being released locally.” Chapman added, “But finding a second knifejaw nearly two years after the discovery of fish in a drifting Japanese boat certainly gets my attention.”

Last March 2013, five striped knifejaws were discovered alive in a boat that is in close proximity with Long Beach, Washington, that had drifted with marine debris from Japan.

Four of the fish had been killed through euthanasia and were examined to find out their origin, while the remaining one has been taken to Seaside Aquarium and still alive and in top shape until today.

OSU marine ecologist Jessica Miller quipped that juveniles of this fish species are well-known on getting along with drift and could have been drawn by floating marine debris.

Until now the tsunami debris from Japan continues to get washed ashore on the beaches of Oregon and Washington, so there is still likelihood that the knifejaw that was discovered is connected with marine debris from Japan. If this is the case the knifejaw could have made a spectacular journey from Japan to Oregon that covered a mind boggling distance of 4,854 miles.

However, the knifejaw’s trip hasn’t ended there as it already made its way into the quarantine facility of Hatfield Marine Science Center, where it will be under the watchful eyes of Tim Miller-Morgan an OSU aquatic veterinarian at Oregon Sea Grant.

Oregon Sea Grant would be delighted with local fisherman, crabbers and among others if they will be on lookout for more striped knifejaws and other unusual fish species.

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