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Fish Flee Hot Japanese Coastal Waters September 17, 2010
Japan coastal sea temperature anomaly
Waters around northern and western Japan are more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.
Sea temperatures around Japan during August reached the warmest levels ever recorded since reliable measurements began 25 years ago.

Fish are believed to have fled the heat. The average sea-surface temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit followed the hottest summer since 1898 across the country.

Thousands of people have been taken to hospitals suffering from heatstroke and other heat-related ailments.

Japanese fishermen say they have been hard-pressed to find their usual catches of Pacific sauries, which have dropped 80 percent in numbers since last summer.

Pacific saury, known as sanma in Japan, usually swim about 3 feet below the surface, according to Akihiko Yatsu, a senior researcher at the National Research Institute of Fisheries Science.

He told the Yomiuri Shimbun that unlike other fish, sanma cannot dive to reach cooler water, so they must swim elsewhere.

Image Data: Japan Meteorological Agency