Rare deep sea fish caught in nets off Imizu Island, Japan

Rare deep sea fish caught in nets off Imizu Island, Japan
Rare deep sea fish caught in nets off Imizu Island, Japan

When Taku Suganuma pulled his fishing net off the coast of Imizu, he caught a catch like he had never seen before. The strange fish had an unusual head and a one meter long silvery body.

Suganuma, 24, caught fish on a Shintokumaru fishing boat that sailed from Imizu as the squid season drew to a close.

At first, he thought it was a low-sale river fish that is often caught in the net this season. However, a younger colleague with knowledge of the fish species said it could be a deep-sea North Pacific cuttlefish, aka unicorn.

Suganuma decided to donate the fish to Wozu's aquarium due to its rarity. A North Pacific cuttlefish was brought to a fishing boat in Toyama Bay off the coast of Imizu.


According to records kept in the aquarium, North Pacific cruciform fish have not been seen in Toyama Prefecture for over 30 years since one was found beached at the mouth of the Katakaigawa River in Uozu in 1988. However, eight of the unicorns were either caught or caught in the net between February and April last year.

The North Pacific cuttlefish has a red dorsal fin and releases black ink from its anus in response to danger.

It is believed that the fish lives in the intermediate layer at depths of 200 to 1000 meters from the coast, but details of its life remain unknown because it is rarely caught.

Specimens usually die quickly due to differences in water temperature and other factors when brought to the surface. Only one of the eight fish taken to the aquarium survived for about an hour.

She released large quantities of ink several times as she floated in a large tank containing 16 tons of seawater, instantly limiting her visibility to only 10 centimeters ahead.

Tomoharu Kimura, aquarium owner, said that the fish's white flesh crunches like a flounder when served as sashimi, while it tastes soft and simple.

A closer look at the contents of her stomach gave a hint of the life and ecosystem of North Pacific cruciform fish, as well as a threat to marine life: plastic waste.

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