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Rarely seen sea creatures come up out of their depth; biologists can't fathom why

Two oarfish have been caught this winter in Toyama Bay on Japan's northwestern coast.

TOKYO -- Creatures that normally dwell deep in the ocean are being caught with startling frequency in shallow waters off Japan. So far, marine biologists have few guesses as to why.

     Fishermen at Hatake Port in the northwestern city of Oga, Akita Prefecture, on Jan. 28 spotted a massive, silver, snakelike fish near the surface. It took four men to hoist the roughly 3-meter monster out of the water. Staff members from the Oga Aquarium determined it was an oarfish -- a species that normally lives at least 200 meters deep.

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