Rare 100-Pound Fish Washes Up On An Oregon Beach

Seaside Aquarium via Facebook

When we think of fish, we often think of them as rather small. We’re used to seeing fish in aquariums or fish tanks where they seem much smaller than other, much larger sea creatures like whales and dolphins.

It turns out that some fish can actually become quit large in the open ocean. For example, the opah fish can weight more than 600 pounds and grow to a length of more than 6 feet.

While opah fish can be quite large, it is also extremely rare that we actually see one. Tiffany Boothe of Seaside Aquarium explained, “They follow their food in the warm water current offshore. We really don’t know how many or how often. Fisherman will see them more frequently than beachgoers.”

Recently, some beachgoers in Oregon actually saw one of these rare opah fish. While not 6 feet long, it was still impressively big. The opah fish, which washed ashore on Sunset Beach on the Oregon Coast, weighs 100 pounds and is 3.5 feet long.

Beachgoers took pictures of the rare fish, and when Seaside Aquarium saw them, they responded by transferring the fish to the aquarium. The fish, which is not alive, will be frozen at the aquarium, and this fall, a school group will get to dissect the fish as special educational opportunity.

Opah fish are rare especially in northern waters, but this is not the first time one this large has been spotted. In 2009, a fisherman caught a 97 pound opah near the Columbia River Mouth.

Opah are also known as moonfish. They have big eyes, red mouths, red fins, round bodies that are rather flat and grayish silver in color.

According to Lynn Mattes, from the Marine Resources Program at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the fish was most likely not caught by a fisherman and then let go. Instead, the fish may have been unable to handle the colder water and then washed ashore.

If you ever see a fish washed up on the beach, Mattes recommends contacting the local aquarium. She explained, “They are often excited to see new things, and likely welcome the opportunity to have a new educational resource.” In addition, you may want to contact your local fish and wildlife agency since they would love to know if there is a sighting of a new or unusual fish species.

Have you ever seen an unusual fish? Did you know fish could grow to 6 feet long?