The ocean is such a beautiful place, with distinct ecosystems inhabiting different regions of the world. But the world can also be freaking terrifying, with monstrous creatures hiding deep beneath the waves. Now we know that there are bound to be specifies out there that are unidentified, a recent metric thinks we’ve only classified about a 100th of the species in the ocean. But sometimes these mysterious creatures wash up to the surface or get caught in a human’s net, and the world is dumbfounded by what they are looking at. When a group of Russian fisherman pulled a large creature out of the deep depths of our ocean, they were astounded by its size. But with a closer look, their preconceptions of ocean life were shattered.
The Ocean is Full to the Brim with Secrets
It’s amazing how many types of fish there are in the ocean, especially when you reach depths that humans generally can’t survive. Did you know that there are species of fish born with eyes? Well when there is no visible light, i guess you don’t need them, right? We may never fully catalog every fish on earth, but what these fishermen caught really showed us how much we don’t know.
The 1910 Fish
Even though these Russian fisherman’s catch was HUGE, it wasn’t even the largest recorded. That record is held by a fish caught off of the coast of Santa Catalina Island in California in 1910. That fish is estimated to have weighed over 3500 pounds. But what kind of fish was it? What fish is THAT big?
Differences of Opinion
Some of the Russian locals were dumbfounded about the discovery, mainly because it wasn’t really like anything they’ve seen. Some believe it was an Opah, while others thought it was a Mola Mola. As the locals fought over erroneous distinctions, the international science community caught wind of the story and stepped in to uncover the mystery.
When scientists received word of the gigantic creature, they hoped to have the remains preserved and shipped to the Sakhalin Museum in Russia, but once they looked into the fishes cold, dead eyes, they knew it wasn’t going to be easy…
As you can see here, this fish was GIGANTIC. It took the help of two vessels to wrangle and bring the fish out of the water. But once above sea level, they noticed something intriguing about the fishes eyes.
…the fishes eyes looked like human eyes. Iris, pupil and all. Obviously the eyes were WAY bigger, but it was trippy to see this giant dead fish staring back at you. Take a look at the eyes on the next page and tell me they don’t freak you out!
The fishermen who captured this beast were from the Kuril Islands near Russia. They had been fishing in the pacific when they pulled out this monster.
Monster of the Deep
It was early in the evening on September 9, 2017, and the men had been fishing on their trawler off the coast of the Kuril islands. They knew they had stumbled upon something magnificent, as they had never seen a fish this size.
The next decision they were going to make was one that would spark great controversy.
A Rare Find
Upon closer inspection, they found out that the fish they caught was called a ‘massive ocean sunfish,’ also known as a ‘moonfish. And massive it was! It was so huge that they didn’t know what to do with it next. They couldn’t transport it too far, but they knew they wanted to find the best avenue to deal with the situation.
What to Do Next
For the next 24 hours, the men deliberated over what they should do with the fish, but that was unfortunately too long for the fish to survive before they released it back to the sea, so it died. Man believe the fish could’ve been saved, but instead the fisherman made it an attraction.
With no more options, the fisherman brought the fish to to the port and left it to rot on the shore. Many people online showed their disapproval and mistreatment of how the fish was treated. One angry twitter user commented., “They simply murdered a huge fish that could easily have been still swimming in the ocean today. However, the fishermen had one more idea up their sleeves.
Not wanting the fish to go to waste, the fisherman took it to an area known as the “fish safari.” This area was known as an area that the local fishermen brought they excess catches to feed the local brown bear population. By the time the fish had reached the brown bears, it didn’t even look like the giant fish it once resembled…
A Bigger Boat is Needed
The fisherman weighed the giant fish before they brought it to the bears and were astonished that it weighed over 2,424 pounds! That’s over 2 tons!
The Biggest Fish in the Sea
According to local Fisherman Arture Balkarov, the fish was simply marvelous. “There has been no such specimen that I can remember,” he told local reporters, “There is the dolphinfish, also known for its size. But I have never seen a sunfish weighing more than a ton here before.” The identity of the fish was eventually confirmed to be an ocean sunfish due to its distinctive feature (or lack thereof) of not having a tail. So why was this creature so special?
The Boniest Fish in the Ocean
The ocean sunfish is considered to be in the “boney fish” category due to the fact that it has bones instead of cartilage. This fish was so massive that it would’ve made over 1200 portions of fish n’ chips. But is hunting the sunfish even legal?
Although sunfish are eaten in some Asian countries, the fish is banned from international trade, hence the reason why social media caused such an uproar about the catch.
Animal Cruelty Might’ve Been Involved
Several critics firmly believed that the fisherman were completely in the wrong for capturing the fish in the first place, Keeping it out of the water for so long, not releasing it in a timely manner, and not notifying the local scientific community.
Lost Research Opportunity
The scientists at the Sakhalin Museum were particularly upset that they missed the opportunity to examine such a specimen due to poor handling of the situation. Not only that, but they were saddened by the loss of such a majestic creature.
On the other side of the ideological spectrum, the locals loved the fisherman’s solution to the issue because the bears usually get aggressive due to lack of a food source. The idea was that the sunfish would alleviate the food troubles for the local bears enough for them to stay away from the villages, but not everyone was happy with this plan.