Rare fish washes ashore at Malibu Colony


An oarfish, a long, bony and ribbon-shaped fish, washed up on shore Sunday morning at Malibu Colony Beach.

Oarfish are reportedly rare and seldom seen alive. Local Darrell Rae, who spotted the fish, said in an e-mail that, “it was coming up for air in the small surf…it was not doing so well.” Rae left to get his camera, but when he returned to the beach the fish had disappeared.

An hour later the fish, which was estimated at more than 10 feet long, washed up on the beach dead.

The California Wildlife Center picked up the fish and brought it to their center where tissue samples were taken. On Tuesday morning it was transported to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Christine Thacker, associate curator of ichthyology, or the study of fish, said the fish is “quite rare.”

Thacker said that oarfish, the world's largest boney fish, are found in tropical regions and temperate zones in mid-water regions … but can [live] up to 3,300 feet below the surface of the ocean. This is the fourth oarfish the museum has received.

The Huffington Post reported earlier this year that a 12-foot long oarfish, also called the “King of Herrings,” was found in Sweden's waters for the first time in 130 years.

Oarfish can grow up to 36 feet in length, an expert at a Swedish aquarium reported.

By Carly Erickson

(3) comments

Matt Horns

As a commited fish head, I must chime in here. Yes, the oarfish is the longest bony fish, but reaches a maximum weight of around 600 pounds. Mola mola's, although they reach a maximum lenght of around 14 feet, are very deep and very thick, and weigh up to 3,000 pounds. They feed at great depths where the water is very cold. When they are full they swim to the surface, flop onto their side, and use the sun to raise their body temperature. I ve seen molo molas several times off the Malibu Coast in their sunbathing position.


It's a fish. I find it hard to believe it was "coming up for air."


surprised the "security guards" didn't rush it and hold for the sheriffs........lucky fish in some ways.

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