A biologist says the country's scientific community should 'take a deeper look' at why the giant oarfish are surfacing from their natural habitats
A biologist says the country's scientific community should 'take a deeper look' at why the giant oarfish are surfacing from their natural habitats.
For almost a decade now, marine life conservationists have taken an interest in why beaching incidents of an ocean-deep serpent-like dweller, the giant oarfish (Regalecus glesne), have become more frequent in the coastal waters of at least eight countries worldwide, including the Philippines.

The giant oarfish, often called the "king of herrings," is a rare and enigmatic deep-sea species known for its immense size and distinctive appearance. They have ribbon-like bodies that can stretch more than 36 feet in length.

They are not well understood, and their behavior and biology remain largely mysterious. Their occasional appearances near the coastlines have led to various speculations and superstitions.


Since 2016, there have been at least 12 beaching incidents involving oarfish in various locations. These include two incidents in Agusan del Norte, three each in Albay, Aurora, Bohol, Cagayan de Oro, Leyte, and Misamis Oriental, and one each in Surigao City and Southern Leyte.

Except for Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro, all these are located on the western seaboard of the Pacific.

On Thursday, September 21, residents of Barangay Luz Banzon in Jasaan town, Misamis Oriental, had a unique experience - they saw, touched, and even smelled an oarfish. The approximately 12-foot oarfish, still bleeding, was pulled from the shoreline at around 4 pm.


Coastal villagers in Gusa, Cagayan de Oro, and Opol town in Misamis Oriental found oarfish carcasses on their shores in 2017 and 2018. On August 20, 2020, a 10-foot lifeless oarfish was spotted along the coastline of Gingoog City, also in Misamis Oriental.