• Environment

Massive Amount of Fish Bones and Scales Cover Hokkaido Beach; Shoreline Turned White by the Remains

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Fish bones and scales are seen covering a beach in Hakodate, Hokkaido, on Jan. 31.

HAKODATE, Hokkaido — Countless fish bones and scales have covered a beach in Hakodate, Hokkaido. The remains are thought to have come from tons of dead fish which previously washed ashore in December.

About 1,100 tons of dead sardines and other species of fish washed ashore the beach on Dec. 7. At the time, the municipal government collected 600 tons of them.

The white remains currently covering the beach are believed to be the leftovers of the uncollected fish, which discomposed offshore and resurfaced. Municipal government officials confirmed that the bones and scales hit the beach on Jan. 4.

The remains do not smell rotten, and no damage has been reported to local fishing activities.

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The beach is covered with a massive amount of fish, as seen on Dec. 7.

The massive amount of dead fish might have washed ashore after suffering a lack of oxygen as they swam in packed conditions while being chased by whales or other predators, said an official at the Hakodate Fisheries Experimental Station, offering one possible scenario.

“Or the fish could have been weakened to death after wandering into cold water while moving south,” the official added.