A rare oarfish, also known as the ribbon fish, has allegedly washed up on a beach in Talisay, Cebu, this week, prompting much fear among residents and the netizens.

Oarfish, which can grow to more than 50 feet in length, are considered the longest bony fish in the world and rarely seen at the surface.

According to Daily Mail, oarfish typically dive more than 3,000 feet deep, which makes sightings rare and has fueled various serpent legends throughout history.

Some netizens commenting in Cebu Flash Report Facebook page claimed that oarfish washing ashore in Talisay, Cebu is a sign that a natural catastrophe will soon follow.

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Other Facebook users commented that the oarfish in the photos were not taken in Talisay but in Bontoc, Southern Leyte.

The oarfish is known in Japan as ryugu no tsukai or “messenger from the sea god’s palace,” according to the Japan Times.

Mark Benfield, a researcher at Louisiana State University, told LiveScience in an an interview that shortly before the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, about 20 oarfish stranded themselves on beaches in the area.

According to Japan Times, Kiyoshi Wadatsumi, a scientist who studies earthquakes at the nonprofit organization e-PISCO, told the National Geographic Channel, “Deep-sea fish living near the sea bottom are more sensitive to the movements of active faults than those near the surface of the sea.”

Scientists speculate that the bottom-dwelling creatures are more sensitive to seismic shifts.

In December 1999 in the Philippines, a lot of jellyfish blocked the cooling system of a power plant and not long after, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck in Luzon.

In March 2010, dozens of the deep-sea denizens were discovered by Japanese fishermen around the time a powerful 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile in March 2010.

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