Japanese fisherman Hirasaka Hiroshi flew out to the island of Hokkaido (located just north of mainland Japan) twice within three months. The second time he went, he was rewarded with a rather unusual souvenir: a giant fish almost two metres long.
Hiroshi caught the fish – believed to be a wolffish – in Hokkaido’s waters near Russia’s coast. He uploaded a picture of him lifting (or trying very, very hard to lift) the fish, his face contorted in a grimace that just about tells us everything we need to know about how big this fish might be. The picture on Twitter was accompanied by the caption: “It was worth flying to [Hokkaido] twice within three months. This guy is super cool.”
Wolffish are deep-sea fish indigenous to the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, and feed on smaller creatures living on the ocean floor. A study conducted in 2008 said that rising water temperatures have resulted in these fish migrating further north. It is famous, besides its rather monstrous appearance (it resembles a monster that could bring about Armageddon), for its size; the specimen Hiroshi caught was nearly two metres long. These fish usually grow to achieve a size of nearly 1.2m, making Hiroshi’s catch something of an extraordinary event.
The picture shows Hiroshi struggling to hold up his catch, the most striking feature of which is the gaping mouth which looks big enough to devour a fairly large dog. It makes you realize why wolffish have famously featured in an episode of River Monsters on the Animal Planet.
The abnormal size of Hiroshi’s catch (abnormal even for a wolffish) is being surmised to be the effect of the deadly Fukushima nuclear accident. Since the accident in 2011, a number of fish have been caught from surrounding waters with as much as 2500 times the legal and safe radiation limit.