Giant 'earthquake fish' caught off E. Taiwan after 5.6 temblor in Hualien

A giant oarfish or 'earthquake fish' was caught off the coast of eastern Taiwan's Hualien after a magnitude 5.6 quake struck yesterday

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Giant oarfish caught off Hualien. (Internet image)

Giant oarfish caught off Hualien. (Internet image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A giant oarfish or "earthquake fish" (地震魚) was caught off the coast of Hualien Sunday morning, just hours after a magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck the area, reported Liberty Times.

Less than five hours after a magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck 40 kilometers off the coast of Hualien yesterday morning at 5:21 a.m., a fisherman in the waters off of Qixingtan Beach caught a giant oarfish, or what in Taiwan is referred to as an "earthquake fish." The fish measured over two meters in length and weighed 20 kilograms.

The fisherman, who was identified by his surname Lan (藍), said that he was fishing offshore at the time the earthquake occurred and heard a loud noise that sounded like "boom boom." Unexpectedly, at 10 a.m., when passing through the waters off of Qixingtan Beach, he suddenly caught the strange, deep-sea creature.


Giant oarfish lying on the deck of the boat. (Internet photo)

Some speculate that the normally deep-dwelling fish are driven from their undersea layers when powerful earthquakes occur, thus putting them in shallower range of commercial fishermen. In the wake of the latest quake, local restaurants are reportedly receiving more of the fish.

A senior fish dealer surnamed Lee (李), said that the earthquake fish is also known as the "dragon palace envoy" or the "imperial hairtail." Lee said that, because they normally inhabit the very deep sea, they are a rare sight in fish markets.

Lee said the fish is edible and restaurants typically steam it. Lee said the fish has no bones and has a "Q" or springy and chewy texture.

The market price for a giant oarfish in Taiwan is NT$200 (US$6.50) per kilogram, so in this case the 20 kilogram fish was worth about NT$4,000.


Closeup view of the fish. (Internet photo)