Recently, a volunteer at Sunset Beach, Oregon, stumbled on a washed-up, bright-silver-and-orange moonfish on the shore—and the discovery caused quite a stir among the locals due to its unique appearance.
The volunteer spotted the moonfish, or opah (also called a sunfish), on the morning of July 15, and immediately called Seaside Aquarium, part of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network (the specimen already being dead).
In an interview with The Epoch Times, 38-year-old Tiffany Boothe, who’s been with the aquarium for the past 20 years, spoke about the happenings on the day the opah was discovered.
“One of our volunteers was on the beach when she came across a strange fish she hadn’t seen before and gave us a call,” Tiffany said.
The volunteer proceeded to send them some photographs of the bright-colored fish.
“We had seen photographs of them but never actually seen one in person,” she said.
“In the photograph the fish did not appear to be very big but when we came across it, we were amazed by its size, and then when we tried to move it, was surprised again by its weight.”
The opah weighed over 100 pounds (45 kg) and was over three feet across—about average size for a fish that can grow over 6 feet long and weigh over 600 pounds (270 kg).
“While they do follow a warm water current off of the Oregon Coast, they are usually very far offshore, so it was unusual for one to be so close to shore that, when it died, it washed ashore in almost pristine condition,” Tiffany said.
Seaside Aquarium recovered the opah and encourages visitors to come view the huge, unusual specimen. Taking to social media, the aquarium posted their plans for the moonfish.
“Always on the lookout for new educational opportunities, the fish will be frozen until the school year starts,” their post read. “Partnering with the Columbia River Maritime Museum’s educational director, Nate Sandel, one lucky school group will get the chance to dissect this large fish.”
The post of the spectacular specimen went viral, being shared over 20,000 times and garnering awe-struck reactions aplenty.