Did Squid Warn Japanese Fishermen About the Earthquake?
The Yomiuri reports that an increase in the squid catch prior to the March 11th earthquake confirms old folk beliefs about the quake predicting powers of squid:
Some fishermen believe a large haul of squid might be a sign that a major earthquake is about to strike, a theory one expert called “intriguing.”A fishery cooperative in Komatsushima in the prefecture said about 200 tons of squid were landed during the peak months of January and February–between two and four times more than in a regular year. A fishery co-op in northern Tokushima reported this winter’s squid catch of 70 tons was triple that of a standard year.Most of the prefecture’s squid haul is netted between northeastern Shikoku and Wakayama Prefecture.A fishery cooperative in Arida, Wakayama Prefecture, which is across the water from Tokushima, also hauled in 700 kilograms, triple a normal season’s catch.According to Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry statistics, squid fishermen in Tokushima brought in 491 tons of the cephalopods in 1994–just before the Hanshin quake–which was 1.4 times the 1993 catch and 1.9 times the 1992 catch.The “fisherman’s tale” that the size of a squid catch can foretell earthquakes gained traction, and reports of the phenomenon continue to be made at briefings on possible precursors to earthquakes.“There were amazing hauls of squid just before the Hanshin quake, and also just before the 1946 Nankai Earthquake,” one veteran fisherman from southern Tokushima said.Another was unable to hide his amazement at the possible connection.“I thought it was odd that we got such a huge haul,” he said. “I’d heard that squid catches increase before a major earthquake, but….”
A squid research offered an alternative explanation: last year was quite warm, so the hatching rate of squid eggs would have been greater than usual.