The Zuiyo-Maru “Catch”
In April of 1977 a Japanese fishing vessel named the Zuiyo-Maru was traveling off the coast of New Zealand, when a large carcass became snarled in its nets. The rotting remains, weighing about 4,000 pounds, were hoisted up above the deck. Several pictures were taken and a fin was preserved before it was cast back to sea so as to not spoil the mackerel catch. The drawing by a biologist on board (bottom center) depicts a plesiosaur (bottom right), as does a commemorative Japanese stamp that was issued in 1977. A tissue sample that was taken from the carcass was studied by a team of Japanese scientists. Their 1978 study stated that, while the identity of the carcass could not be determined with certainty, the carcass was most likely that of a large shark. Most scientists have concluded that it was merely a decayed basking shark.
But numerous questions remain, including the observed large hind fins, the small, hard head with the nares (nostrils) at the front of the head, the existence of the decaying fat, and the presence of red flesh. A number of researchers who have studied the matter aren’t persuaded by the basking sharp explanation. (Note, for example: Bowden, Malcolm, The Japanese Carcass: A Plesiosaur-type Animal!) Creationist John Goertzen wrote an article stating that the shark identification relies on the presumption that the dorsal fin slipped into the wrong place as a result of decomposition. He presents the difficulties with this view, notes the eyewitness testimony regarding a pair of fins, and gives further evidence to support his conclusion that the creature was a marine tetrapod. (Goertzen, John, “New Zuiyo Maru Cryptid Observations-Strong Indications It Was a Marine Tetrapod,” CRSQ 38, June 2001, 19-29.) If marine plesiosaurs really have survived, then they could be the basis for many of the “sea monster” stories that exist today.