While debris in the ocean commonly attracts fish, "nobody's seen fish that have traveled with debris this distance," Pleus said. The biologists now suspect other fish may have reached the coastline, but dispersed in the surf prior to reaching the shore.
"There could be other types of fish associated with this debris that we don't see but down the line we could find new populations of fish established on the coast," Pleus said.
To reduce the chance of invasive species populating the coast, the biologists euthanized all but one of the creatures, found in the boat, "Saisho-Maru."
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The sole-survivor of the journey is one of the juvenile beakfish, which the Seaside Aquarium in Oregon agreed to quarantine and is now debuting to the public. Curator Keith Chandler told The Oregonian that his staff dubbed it the "tsunami fish." Beakfish can grow as long as 15 inches and turn black as they mature.
"It's pretty cool. It's about 4 inches long," Chandler told the newspaper. "We're trying to get it different things to eat ... and it may have eaten, but it's a shy little guy."