Sardines and mackerels blanket beach in Hokkaido; local fishermen shocked

Sardines and mackerels are seen washed up on a beach in Hakodate, Hokkaido, on Dec 7. - PHOTO: THE JAPAN NEWS/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

HAKODATE, Hokkaido (Japan News/ANN): Thousands of sardines and mackerels washed up ashore near Toi fishing port in Hakodate, Hokkaido, confirmed a city official on the morning of Dec 7. It has prompted speculation that the fish was suddenly deprived of oxygen.

The Hakodate city government and the Hokkaido prefectural government are investigating the cause and considering how to clear away the fish.

According to the city government, an official who visited the site upon receiving the news, found tons of dead fish covering over a kilometer of the beach located near the fishing port.

A 65-year-old local fisherman said: “I’ve seen fish dying from lack of oxygen offshore, but this is the first time that such a large number of fish have washed up.”

Officials estimated that at least 1,000 tons of mostly sardines, and some mackerel, has been washed ashore, but the figure could be even higher, reported Asahi Shimbun.

The authorities said they will work with local fishermen to clean up the area from Dec 9.

The fish, which are covered in sand, should not be consumed, city officials warned. They should not be used as food or fertiliser for fish farming too.

Takashi Fujioka, a Hakodate Fisheries Research Institute specialist, said he believed the fish were on their way south to the main island of Honshu.

They might have died en masse after entering a colder zone, he told Asahi Shimbun. - THE JAPAN NEWS/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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