Last week, a 100-pound glistening opah, also known as a moonfish, washed up on Sunset Beach in northern Oregon’s Seaside in the United States. The three-and-a-half-feet long moonfish was a rare scene. Its body was a mix of silvery, bright red and orange scales, dotted with white spots. Its eyes had hints of gold. On July 14, when locals informed the officials at Seaside Aquarium about the metre long opah, they were baffled on seeing it.
In a Facebook post, the aquarium officials said the spotting of the fish was reported at 8 am (local time). The post, made on the day of the recovery, further added that while the fish was rare in the part of Oregon; it isn’t unheard of. The officials called as many people as they could to offer a glimpse of the unusual-looking fish.
The assistant manager at the aquarium Tiffany Boothe told the media that it is the first opah fish she has seen on a beach in the area. Though it is not yet clear how it died, it appears that “it was close to the shore” when it breathed its last.
Heidi Dewar, a research biologist with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, maintained that it is rare to see an opah of this size in Oregon, reported The Washington Post. These can grow up to six feet long and are typically found in tropical and temperate waters, however, since climate change is warming waters in the south, the marine life is forced to look for cooler escape in the north.
The Seaside Aquarium revealed that the fish will be frozen until the school year starts and dissected later this year with the hopes of learning more about the species and extent of climate change. The aquarium will partner with the Columbia River Maritime Museum for the research. According to the museum’s educational director, Nate Sandel, one school group will “get the chance to dissect” the moonfish.