Yesterday, Grind TV reported that a fishing vessel reeled in a thin, 7-ft long fish carcass off the coast of Kona, Hawaii. Captain Dale Leverone posed with the dead fish before he and his crew attempted to cook and eat it. Their dinner plans were ruined when the creature's flesh turned gelatinous after cooking, and the specimen was thrown overboard.
Pictures of the carcass have thus far puzzled everyone who has attempted to identify it. Leverone believed that he had caught an oar fish, but the fish lacks any traces of the red dorsal fin sported by that species. Friend of the Leverone family and fishing photographer Jon Schwartz contacted several experts in hopes of identifying the unusual catch.
Fishing writier Jim Rizzuto suggested it could be a Hawaiian ridge scabbardfish, but this seems unlikely. Scabbardfish are long and thin, but have never been recorded to grow to such lengths and also sport different coloring and a spiny ridge. NOAA marine biologists also could not provide a match.
Pete Thomas of Grind TV. passed the images on to the vice president of animal husbandry at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Hampton said the pictures “do not show enough detail to make a determination.” He went on to say, “Despite the apparent lack of red dorsal fin it is hard to come up with any other species other than an oarfish. The most prominent part of an oarfish's dorsal fin are the first few spines near the head," he added. "It is possible that these things were lost along with the head. The rest of the dorsal fin runs the length of the body but usually lays flat in a recessed channel along the fish's back unless it is alarmed."
Unfortunately, since the Leverones disposed of the body, positive identification of the fish is impossible.