Oarfish spotting in Leyte: Netizens fear ‘doom fish’


Children surround a dead oarfish (Regalecus glesne) that was discovered around 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 2, along the shoreline of the Visayas State University (VISCA) in Baybay City, Leyte. | contributed photo

CONSOLACION, Cebu—Netizens speculate that the recent appearance of an oarfish in Baybay City, Leyte is a sign that a tragedy is brewing. 

The oarfish (Regalecus glesne) was discovered around 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 2, along the shoreline of the Visayas State University (VISCA) in Baybay City, Leyte.

Netizens, reacting to a post of CDN Digital regarding the oarfish, believe that oarfish sightings are signs of an incoming tragedy.

One recalled a similar encounter of the fish in 2021.

“I remember before Typhoon [Odette] smashed most of Visayas regions. Dead [oarfish] exist some of Visayas islands before the tragedy,” a netizen commented.

It can also be recalled that a dead oarfish was discovered along the coastline of a village in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, in Northern Mindanao but this was way before Odette in August of 2020. 

IN PHOTOS: Oarfish washed ashore in Gingoog

“Something is about to happen in that area for sure. Climate has been unpredictable only those creatures has been on point,” another netizen said.

‘Harbinger of Earthquakes’

Oarfish got its name because its long pectoral fins resemble oars. It is also called the king of herrings because of their resemblance to the smaller herrings and fishes. They are among marine creatures that thrive in the deepest parts of the ocean.

Some locals believed sightings of their dead bodies on coasts are signs of an incoming earthquake however there is still no scientific study proving so.

Still, some netizens believe there’s something about oarfisg sightings.

“The Harbinger of Earthquakes,” one netizen said.

“Wow its a doom fish. Gg,” another netizen said.

According to Reyvan Mercado Salubre, one of the people who have seen the fish first hand, the fish was already dead when they discovered it.

“Mga bata naka una gyud. Amo ge dool, abi namo’g unsa. Unya oarfish man diay,” Salubre said. 

(The kids were the first to see it. We went near it wondering what it is. We realized it was an oarfish.)

Salubre estimates the fish to weigh 20-22 kilos and roughly measures up to 4-5 feet.

CDN Digital reached out to the Barangay Guadalupe LGU and Baybay City LGU to get their side but hasn’t gotten any reply as of this writing. 

An article from the National Geographic said oarfish “crop up occasionally in temperate and tropical shallows around the world, usually two or three within a short period of time.”

The article also says very little is known about why this happens “but some scientists have suggested that the deep-dwelling species—which usually makes its home in the mesopelagic zone 200 to 1,000 meters below the surface—is sometimes pushed upwards onto the continental shelf by strong currents.”


TAGS: climate, environment, marine life, oarfish, sea
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