A large colorful fish mysteriously appeared on Sunset Beach, Oregon. State authorities confirmed the specimen is rare since it usually thrives in tropical waters.
Seaside Aquarium confirmed the peculiar discovery in a social media post after receiving an anonymous report about 8:00 a.m, on July 14. The Opah, also known as a moonfish, measures 3.5 feet long and weighs 100 pounds.
“Opahs can grow to over 6 feet and weigh over 600 pounds,” the aquarium said on Facebook. “They inhabit pelagic (meaning they live in the open ocean), tropical and temperate waters where they feed on krill and squid.”
This fish can grow up to six feet long and weigh 600 pounds.— Gail Simone (@GailSimone) July 15, 2021
It washed up on the shore on the Oregon coast, which is sad…but why does it look so happy? pic.twitter.com/U5Fs62L9sI
Employees quickly transported the dead fish back to Seaside, about 79 miles northwest of Portland. They stored it in a freezer and plan to use it for educational purposes when the next semester begins.
“It created quite the stir at the aquarium where folks were encouraged to come take a look at this beautiful and odd-looking fish,” the aquarium said. “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.”
Opah is a tropical fish that enjoys warm and moderate temperature waters. It rarely appears in the Beaver State according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website. It is a strange-looking fish with a spherical, flat body that is silvery gray in appearance.
“While rare this far north it is not unheard of,” the aquarium said. “A a 97-pound Opah was caught 37 miles off of the Columbia River Mouth in 2009.”
Since late June Oregon has sweltered through a record-breaking heatwave that hit Pacific north-west. On the week the fish washed up, the Seaside area experienced average temperatures of between 55F and 65F, according to the WeatherSpark website.