Diving instructor Wang Cheng-ru captures a rare encounter with an “earthquake fish” off Taiwan’s coast. The earthquake fish, known as an oarfish, is rarely seen in the wild due to its preference for deep waters. Legends and local traditions associate the oarfish with seismic activity, surfacing before or after earthquakes. Diver Wang Cheng-ru describes the magnificent appearance of the long and skinny oarfish, resembling a “water dragon.” The oarfish suffered wounds, possibly from a cookiecutter shark attack, as observed in the footage. Wang believes the oarfish swam into shallower waters due to illness, discounting earthquake-related activity. Oarfish can grow up to 26 feet long, with unconfirmed sightings of even larger specimens reaching 50 feet. The oarfish’s unique appearance and size contribute to sea-monster legends and folklore.
Encounters with oarfish typically occur when they wash ashore or are accidentally caught, rarely observed in their natural habitat. In 2022, a 20-foot oarfish was caught off Chile’s coast, causing unfounded fears of an impending disaster. Diving instructor Wang Cheng-ru shares stunning close-up photos of the encounter with the oarfish. Oarfish have been associated with earthquakes, as seen before Japan’s 2011 earthquake and subsequent beach strandings. Scientifically, there is no evidence linking oarfish sightings to seismic events, but the myth persists. A 13-foot oarfish found on a Mexican beach in 2020 heightened concerns about an impending earthquake. The proximity of the oarfish sighting in Japan to a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in 2016 raised intrigue. Wang Cheng-ru’s footage provides valuable insights into the behavior and appearance of the elusive oarfish.
The documentary aspect of the video offers an opportunity for further study on oarfish behavior and migration patterns. Researchers may analyze the wounds on the oarfish to gather insights into interactions with cookiecutter sharks. The footage and photos captured by Wang Cheng-ru contribute to our understanding of the enigmatic oarfish species. Experts in marine biology and folklore could collaborate to explore the cultural significance of the oarfish. Wang Cheng-ru’s encounter prompts questions about the impact of environmental factors on the oarfish’s behavior. The sighting of the oarfish near Taiwan’s coast highlights the diverse marine life present in the region. Wang Cheng-ru’s expertise as a diving instructor adds credibility to the documentation of the oarfish encounter. This rare sighting raises awareness of the importance of preserving deep-sea ecosystems and understanding their inhabitants.