Background image: Fort Point and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Four years after Japanese tsunami, debris still arriving on West Coast

Last August I sent out a newsletter headlined "Surf City USA" about a vacation stop in Crescent City -- California's tsunami magnet -- on the far northern California coast.

Much of Crescent City was destroyed by the tsunami from the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska, and has since been rebuilt. A beachcomber just south of Crescent City was drowned in 2011 by the tsunami generated by the Fukushima, Japan earthquake.

I wrote in the newsletter about high school students in Crescent City who, two years after the Fukushima quake, discovered a 20-foot fishing boat that had washed up in California. The boat's ownership was traced back to a Japanese high school near Fukushima, and a delegation of Crescent City students eventually traveled to Japan to return it.

Today's Washington Post reported on yet more Fukushima debris that has finally found its way across the Pacific to the West Coast -- this time carrying live passengers.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials routinely checking fishing boats Friday off Ona Beach discovered a 25- to 30-foot section of a fishing trawler adrift in the ocean with several yellowtail jack fish, which are native to Japanese waters, still alive inside.

They theorized that the fish were either caught just before the boat was destroyed by the tsunami in 2011 or are descendants of those fish. They believe they could swim in and out of the wreck to search for food but stayed with the drifting debris because it offered them shelter from larger predators. Read the Post's story here.

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© 2020 by Jody Meacham