Large number of sardines wash ashore along 4-km stretch of Hokkaido coast


A large number of sardines washed up on the shore along the coast of Mukawamachi, Hokkaido, on Monday.

The fish were found at around 6 a.m. by local fishermen who said the sardines had washed ashore along a four-kilometer stretch of coastline, Hokkaido Shimbun reported Tuesday.

One fisherman, 74, told media that he had never seen so many fish washed ashore in his life.

Fishing and marine experts believe that a large number of the sardine's natural predator, the yellowtail (also known as Japanese amberjack), may have been hunting the sardines and causing them to group together as they attempted to flee from their pursuers. In their escape, the large schools of fish may have accidentally come too close to the beach and washed up along the shore.

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The large schools of fish may have "accidentally" come too close to the beach and washed up along the shore? Possible, but not likely in these enormous numbers. I wonder why these fishing & Marine "experts" are not named? Seems like the 74 year old fisherman would be better qualified to be called an expert.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't they also have gale force winds and extremely rough seas starting Sunday night?

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This is a bad omen. The last time a large concentration of sardines washed up dead along a shore was just before a big disaster. Take note of the date: March 8, 2011.

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@AtsushiExiled I read the article. I guess Hokkaido has some free fertilizer. This is similar to how a flock of birds just suddenly fall out of the air. A lot of scientists say that it is "natural". Really? I don't think so. Maybe it has something to do with all the damn pollution in the environment, but no one will say exactly what it is.

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Interesting connection, AtsushiExiled. One case doesn't mean much, but if your theory is correct that would mark trouble for the US West Coast rather than Japan.

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Hokkaidoguy: Are you actually blaming strong winds and rough seas for killing hundreds of thousands, of Just one kind of fish?

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Stuart: No, I'm saying it's a realistic factor that should be considered along with the other information we have. The article Atsushi posted above also lists weather as a factor - it's not that strange.

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That's not good anywhere and a vast stretch for sardines to just wash ashore. Could be environmental issues, could be other predatory fish, high winds or waves, rough currents, but it would also be safe to say something that whatever the reason its not a good sign to see.

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Nothing strange about this guys.

I come from South Africa and once a year we have millions of sardines swimming past the eastern coast. If you lucky enough and get some warning and they come close enough you can wade into the shallows and catch hundreds with a few buckets.

I have seen thousands beach themselves, so a large number really just a drop in the ocean, literally haha

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Pfft! Hard to believe the "ahum" experts conclusion. Schools of sardines wash up pretty regulalarly in different parts of the world, most of which doe from a lack of oxygen in the water when they school on mass. There is also a disease that effects sardines and causes them to die in large numbers. It's pretty unlikely amberjack chased them into the shore.

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If it was a fulll moon and high tide this would have cause their navigation system to tell them to beach themselves in California we have this same situation during the fall season when we have high tides and a full moon we go grunion hunting. These fish continue to swim inward not outward until they tire themselves out and lay helpless and die.

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They'll also have to check if pollution was involved. If this area is near the Mukawa River delta on Hokkaido, then we have to consider that water pollution from a ship going in and out of Muroran, Shiraoi, and/or Tomakomai ports may have contributed to the sardine grounding.

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Hokkaidoguy: I respectfully disagree that rough seas caused just one species of fish to beach themselves. If that were the case, just about every time a strong typhoon, hurricane or cyclone occurred, we would see this. Instead, during those events, you usually see quite a variety of beached fish, not just one kind. I'm sure that the 74 year old fisherman has seen his share of bad weather but he has never seen this many fish washed ashore. In regards to the other article, I can tell you that storm was NOT an exception one, being that I was there at the time.Though the article says rough seas caused this, the local news reported (Scripts institute) as saying, that dolphin had apparently chased them into the Marina.There were several theories of what caused them to come to shore, but only one fact presented, which was how they died. (Lack of oxygen)

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This is a bad omen. The last time a large concentration of sardines washed up dead along a shore was just before a big disaster. Take note of the date: March 8, 2011.

Right . . . because a bunch of fish (not just sardines) in California getting stuck in a marina and dying after depleting the water's oxygen was somehow a sign of a natural disaster in Japan three days later.

There could be a massive earthquake tomorrow and your spurious reasoning would still be just that.

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Stuart- are you being intentionally confrontational here?

The California story has dolphins chasing the fish, plus high winds. In Mukawa they had schools of yellowtail, plus high winds.

Should we assume a similarity in events, or shall we put it down to Aliens?

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hokkaidoguy: Stuart- are you being intentionally confrontational here? No, not at all. I said I respectfully disagree. In both cases, they have only suspected tuna or dolphins and weather caused this, it has not been proven to be a fact. Truth is no one knows for sure what has been causing these events. I have my own opinion on what's causing this, but that doesn't make it fact either.

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Maybe the fish were not watching where they were going. I spent time in the Azores, and sometimes the tuna would beach themselves (traveling too fast?) and the locals would just walk over and grab them.

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The other scenario is illegal dumping which is preferred in bad weather so the ship cannot be tracked, or the dumping of nuclear waist which the government will never acknowledge if they did find it in the fish as it would start a panic throughout the world in exports of fish to their countries, you could have a gas pocket which could crack open in n earth quake, which releases the gas which will also kill of thousands of fish, so in all the truth you will hear, the truth will never come out, the answer of lack of oxygent with fish in the ocean is not likely, the whole area would have to be depleted, if you do not see any big fish which do feed off smaller fish then the scenario for depletion is not likely, which was the cover up in California, the fish that turned up were weaker fish and all the same, this is more likely illegal dumping of some sort. which contaminated the weaker stock. sorry people do not like the truth and this will be taken down as to the further cover-up.

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