A fish of scary sea stories has come ashore. It was found in the waters off Catalina Island near Los Angeles, California by marine instructor Jasmine Santana of the Catalina Island Marine Institute as she was snorkeling. It took 16 people to haul the enormous find of a lifetime to shore. Smiling they posed for a photo while holding the dead carcass for posterity and the media. If not for such a rare event, being asked to hold a dead slimy fish carcass might not bring such smiles, but this rarity must have been worth the “ewe” factor.
According to the daily mail,
“'She was snorkeling and sees this giant fish at the bottom of the ocean,' Waddington told KTLA. 'She swims down and grabs it by the tail and swims it to the beach. It was awesome. There were people sprinting to go and see this fish.'”
The mystery fish was quickly identified by Santana as a very rarely seen giant oarfish, scientifically called Regalecus glesne, but also sometimes called a ribbon-fish, pacific oarfish or streamer fish, and is considered the “king of the herrings”. They are known for their ability to live very deep in the ocean. They live between 656 feet to over 3,000 feet deep, and unless they die they usually are never seen by the human eye.
The first recorded human sighting was in 1772 by Norwegian biologist Peter Ascanius. Scary stories were written about them in the 1850's, and in more recent times the U.S. navy recovered a 23-foot giant oarfish off the coast of California near San Diego. That specimen was brought in by a crew of navy seals in 1996. However impressive these lengths are, the longest recorded specimen recovered was a whopping 26-feet long. Scientists believe they can grow to 50-feet.
Apparently, this 18-foot monster recovered on Sunday died of natural causes, and the scientists are debating what to do with it. Waddington said,
“'I am pushing to bury it and wait for it to be naturally cleaned so that we can then take the skeleton and articulate it and have it on display,'”(dailymail).
Whatever they decide to do with this specimen, once again the world is presented with a fish that surely has been called a “sea-monster” for the shear scale and look of it, but in reality the beauty of God's creation is on display for the world to see and be amazed at once again.
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