Oarfish are large and long, growing up to 17 meters (56 feet) in length. The creature has scared many sailors in ancient times, and is considered a sea serpent. According to marine experts, the giant sea creature is found in all temperate to tropical oceans around the world.
Although the fish is said to be available in the seas around the world, it is rarely seen on the surface of the sea. It lives in deep waters near the ocean floor, making it difficult to spot it on the surface.
In East Asia, mythology about the Oarfish runs deep among countries in the area. The fish is known in Japanese folklore as the Messengers from the Sea God’s Palace. This mystical belief makes the sighting of the fish a bad omen for people in the region. It is believed that if Oarfish start to appear in shallow waters or on the beaches, a mega earthquake or tsunami is about to happen. This is a long standing traditional belief, and it is still relevant in many societies in the region today.
too many oarfish found, damn, maybe godzilla is coming
— Succubus (@shenadal) February 18, 2017
Beginning this year, three oarfish were found dead along the beaches of the Philippines. All three were reportedly found off the northern coast of Mindanao island, in the south of the archipelago. In January, one oarfish washed ashore in the nearby province of Agusan del Norte, on Mindanao Island.
The other two were reportedly found on the beaches in the city of Butuan in February. It is said when the third Oarfish was spotted, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck the country two days later. The incident sparked the ancient belief associated with the fish.
Many locals took to social media to warn people of the supposed impending danger. One person pointed out on Facebook that there are several instances of people sighting oarfish prior to an earthquake, including the earthquakes and tsunami that happened in Japan, Chile, Haiti and the Philippines.
Another person also asked for prayers for the country, referring to previous sightings of the giant fish before a dangerous disaster happened. However, others too made no reference to the belief associated with the fish. They posted pictures of the dead fish, advocating for strong measures to protect them.
A long-held belief among people cannot be easily dismissed. Whether it’s a sign of an impending danger or not, the deaths of these fish are certainly not good news for humans. The sea and its creatures should be protected from harm as the sea and everything in it serves as a significant source of livelihood to all of us.
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