Crab fisherman off the coast of Oregon got a surprise when they brought up a crab pot and discovered a live striped knifejaw that is native to Japan, China and Korea. The fish is now with a team of scientists from Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife who are studying the unusual find this far from the fish’s native waters.
You might recall debris for the Japanese tsunami that washed a skiff ashore in Washington state that contained five stowaway striped knifejaw. However, this appearance in Oregon waters of Oplegnathus fasciatus, which is sometimes called a barred knifejaw or striped beakfish, may or may not be related to the Japanese tsunami and as the researchers say, it is premature to conclude that this non-native species may be established in Oregon waters.
“Some association with Japanese tsunami debris is a strong possibility, but we cannot rule out other options, such as the fish being carried over in ballast water of a ship or an aquarium fish being released locally,” said OSU’s John Chapman, an aquatic invasive species specialist at the university’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. “But finding a second knifejaw nearly two years after the discovery of fish in a drifting Japanese boat certainly gets my attention.”