A Japanese fisherman, Hirasaka Hiroshi, recently uploaded to Twitter photos of a monstrous wolffish he caught in the waters of the Pacific near the site of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power accident.
The photos show the proud fisherman holding aloft the monster sea creature he caught off the coast of Japan, near Russia’s eastern shores, during a trip to Hokkaido, Japan’s second largest island.
Wolffish normally grow up to one to 1.2 meters (3.6-3.94 feet) long and weigh up 15 kg (33 lbs), but this gargantuan specimen was about two meters (6.5 feet) long, according to the Sun.
“It was worth flying to [Hokkaido] twice within three months. This guy is super cool.”
Before it was identified as a wolffish, some social media users had doubted that the fearsome and ugly-looking creature, with a massive head and cavernous maws, was a fish. Some speculated it was an alien beast from another planet or a previously unknown sea monster.
The information sparked online speculation that the fish was a mutant monster caused by nuclear contamination of the water.
It was speculated that Hiroshi’s catch could confirm fears that the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdown, triggered by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake, could have had mutagenic effect on marine flora and fauna.
The speculations were heightened by social media users who recalled reports of giant catfish close to the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.
The Fukushima disaster was the worst nuclear accident since the Russian Chernobyl meltdown in 1986. More than 18,000 people died due to the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the accident.
The Bering wolffish (Anarhichas orientalis) is found in the Northeastern and Northwestern Pacific, from off the coast of Hokkaido to Alaska, and in the Bering Sea and the Arctic Ocean.
They normally stay close to the ocean floor, where they feed on a variety of smaller fish and other creatures. They rarely come to the surface of the water, thus catches are relatively rare.
Recent studies suggest that rising ocean temperatures are forcing the fish to migrate further north.
[Images: Twitter/Hirasaka Hiroshi via Daily Mail]