Big ol’ sea wolf caught in Pacific (UPDATE: Don’t be ignorant!)

NEAT! (Originally published 16-Sept 2015)

Remember, kids. Learn about nature so you can correct people who say this is some sort of “mutant monster” in your Facebook feed.

An enourmous sea monster was caught by baffled Japanese fishermen off the island of Hokkaido.

A ferocious looking fish with a gigantic head and sharp, protruding teeth has been found swimming in the waters of Pacific Ocean.

Source: Fishermen Caught Giant Wolffish In Pacific Ocean

UPDATE (Sept 20, 2015): The fish has been identified as a Bering wolffish (Anarhichas orientalis), native to the area. Sadly, as I expected, the fish was called a “mutant” by media outlets who connected it to fallout radiation from Fukushima, a very unoriginal and WRONG suggestion. The person in the picture, Hiroshi Hirasaka, who has degrees in marine biology and ecological sciences, was very proud of his catch until people misinterpreted it in this way.

“That fish has been in [Hokkaido] for a long time, so it’s not feasible for it to be affected by radiation. It’s rude to the fish to say that, and it’s not cool to blame everything on radiation,” Hirasaka said. “Creatures only become big in the world of science fiction, and we’re not living in the world of Hulk or Godzilla.”

But, as we know all too well here, this ignorance of nature is rampant in the public. For media, it’s all about the hype and the clicks, at the expense of genuine knowledge.

The wolffish is a plentiful species, so it’s not rare, though this one is a whopper. While Japanese people are used to seeing this fish, obviously the rest of the world is not.

  9 comments for “Big ol’ sea wolf caught in Pacific (UPDATE: Don’t be ignorant!)

  1. September 16, 2015 at 1:17 PM

    They need to leave these poor fish alone. Monster indeed! How could someone make their living off the sea and yet be so stupid about the creatures who live in it?

  2. busterggi (Bob Jase)
    September 16, 2015 at 4:39 PM

    Cadborosaurus!

  3. PagaRoobits
    September 16, 2015 at 9:15 PM

    Your criticism is misplaced. First of all, no fisherman in the world wants to catch one of these fish. They are unsaleable as they are not considered “food”. Secondly, they *are* being left alone. These unique creatures are usually found at much greater depths than any commercial fish. That’s what makes it newsworthy; you just don’t see these things very often ’cause they normally live so far below any commercial species.

  4. Grumpy
    September 16, 2015 at 9:15 PM

    At the provided link the title & subtitles (from huge to small) are:

    “Fishermen Caught Giant Wolffish In Pacific Ocean

    An enourmous sea monster was caught by baffled Japanese fishermen off the island of Hokkaido.

    A ferocious looking fish with a gigantic head and sharp, protruding teeth has been found swimming in the waters of Pacific Ocean.”

    “Giant Wolffish” is a bit over-hyped, yet this individual seems quite at the upper (known) size limit.

    “enormous sea monster”, that’s colloquial/journalese for “wtf is that?” The traditional sailor’s answer being “let’s eat it”…

    Notice that the teeth aren’t “sharp” – it crushes hard-shelled beasties – and better be somehow “protruding” to show a modicum of efficiency. 😉

    On the link’s site there is a second picture, taken with a less flattering (i. e. head-enhancing) angle. And here: http://www.fishbase.org/photos/PicturesSummary.php?ID=3813&what=species is a nice portrait, confirming the diagnostic.

  5. Phil
    September 17, 2015 at 8:44 PM

    Wolf eels lurk in caves. I’m assuming the fishermen use nets for open ocean fish so they wouldn’t see them often if at all.

  6. Pixleshifter
    September 18, 2015 at 6:36 AM

    When you’re swimmin’ in the creek
    and an eel bites your cheek
    that’s a moray

    (with apologies to Dean Martin).

  7. September 21, 2015 at 2:34 PM

    “Your criticism is misplaced. First of all, no fisherman in the world wants to catch one of these fish. They are unsaleable as they are not considered “food”. Secondly, they *are* being left alone. These unique creatures are usually found at much greater depths than any commercial fish. That’s what makes it newsworthy; you just don’t see these things very often ’cause they normally live so far below any commercial species.”

    That´s actually all wrong. Wolffish are actually quite good and sought-after foodfish, they are only often not sold under their normal names. They don´t only live in extremely deep water, but often in depths of lesser than 100 m (and there are many commerially caught fish which do live deeper than 500-1000 m). They are not caught specific, but mainly as by-catch on long-lines, but in numbers big enough to seriously overfish them.

  8. Russian Skeptic
    September 21, 2015 at 2:57 PM

    Deep-see fishes can be much more monstrous. But I thought that there were enough pictures of them even before the Internet era. I am really amazed how silly people tend to be.

  9. Overkill
    September 22, 2015 at 10:49 PM

    Sounds like this particular fisherman was very happy with his catch.

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