Japanese Fish Rode a Tsunami 5,000 Miles to California

The fish likely caught a ride on some debris from the devastating tsunami of 2011.

A tsunami likely carried a fish from Japan to the shores of California. (Getty Images)
Getty Images/Image Source

An exotic fish spotted by divers off the coast of California likely crossed the Pacific Ocean from Japan by hitching a ride from the 2011 tsunami, according to scientists.

The little traveler is a barred knifejaw, a black and white striped fish, The Independent reported. Scientists have seen it in Monterey Bay, just south of San Francisco, on and off since 2014. But the area is an unheard of location for the fish, which is native to Japan, Korea and China.

Researchers have concluded that the only way the knifejaw could have made it to the States is if it caught a ride on some debris carried over from Asia in the devastating tsunami of 2011.

“These currents circle around and around and then just depending on local conditions the water may move on shore,” a scientist at California’s Moss Landing Marine, Jonathan Geller, said. “This fish stands out because it looks quite alien in our water and it’s definitely a species we haven’t seen here before this event.”

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