200-year-old Rockfish—400-Year-Old Clam Still Holds Record
200-year-old Rockfish caught off Alaska coast: A Seattle insurance adjuster, Henry Liebman, caught a rockfish near Sitka, Alaska, that broke a record for weight, and likely broke a longevity record as well last month.
Liebman reeled in a 39.08-pound shortraker rockfish. The previous record for a shortraker caught on sportfishing gear was 38.69 pounds. The oldest shortraker caught was 175 years old. The age of Liebman’s catch is likely about 200-years-old, according to Troy Tidingco, Sitka area manager for the state Department of Fish and Game.
Tidingco told the Sitka Sentinel that the 175-year-old fish was smaller than Liebman’s—it was 32.5 inches, and Liebman’s is almost 41 inches.
“So his could be substantially older,” Tidingco said. Samples have been sent to a lab for age verification.
Live Science explains that a fish’s ear bone contains growth rings similar to those in a tree trunk, allowing scientists to determine the age.
The approximately 200-year-old rockfish is still a good deal younger than the oldest animal ever found—an approximately 400-year-old quahog clam found in the waters off Iceland, according to Live Science. Live Science reports that researchers have found a wide range of longevity within species, finding that smaller individuals may have an advantage.
Live Science explains: “This may be due to the abnormal cell growth that accompanies both larger body size and the risk of cancer.”