“Strange” fish washes ashore in Canaries (see video)

“Strange” fish washes ashore in Canaries (see video)


 STAFF REPORT – On the morning of Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, some residents of Canaries had more questions than answers when a large “strange” fish washed ashore their beach.

Several residents submitted photos and videos of the fish to St. Lucia News Online (SNO) in attempt to find out what it was.

And Deputy Chief Fisheries Officer Thomas Nelson had the answer.

img-20170102-wa0000He identified the creature as an ocean sunfish, also known as moon fish, and scientifically as Mola mola.

“It is not uncommon to the tropics. We have seen it before,” Nelson told SNO.

“Research has shown only two species of this Genus Mola, so the greater likelihood is the Mola mola,” he added.

According to Wikipedia, the ocean sunfish is the “heaviest known bony fish in the world”, and an average adult weighs between 247 and 1,000 kg.

Nelson noted that the one in Canaries reportedly weighed over 150 pounds (68 kg) — a “juvenile”.

“Actually the maximum published weight, according to the IUCN Redlist, is as much as 2.3 tons,” the fisheries official pointed out.

Nelson went on to say that in the past, local fishermen have reported landing it in their day’s catch. However, he said the sunfish is not known to be eaten or “commercially important” in St. Lucia.

“Actually, I do not know of a fish species that is not edible. It is really based on culture. So culturally, it is not generally targeted or eaten locally,” Nelson said.

The fish was disposed of at the Deglos sanity landfill shortly after it was discovered.

Meanwhile, Nelson expressed gratitude to several persons who responded to the scene at Canaries beach that day.

“The Department of Fisheries would like to thank Rita Straughn, Fisheries extension officer for Canaries, the fishers  of Canaries who reported the incident and assisted with the disposal, and the officers from the Canaries Police Station who helped with transportation for the adequate disposal of the carcass at the Deglos sanitary landfill,” Nelson said.


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  1. What a fascinating creature...







  2. The ignorant people removed the fish in the water just to put it in a landfill. Lucian's really stupid smh, The fish is dead just drag it out to deeper parts of the ocean so it's carcass can be consumed by other fish smh


  3. and there is no thanks for those who took it of the water , and put it on the beach and the police making a big sceane as if that a crime sceane there and the fishries oficer could not even identifide the fish is some locals like me who tell them the name ,,, stop giving credit to those that dont deseve it


  4. Strange, no specific reason or details was given re death. Knowing fully well the amount if chemical that go down from our rivers into the ocean so at least people should know the cause of it washing on our shoes, the cause of death whether it was hit by a a boat engine or even attack by another fish, shark or something.


  5. Thanks, Mr. Nelson. I enjoy learning new things. Also thanks to Anonymous for adding extra info at 8:57 on January 2.


  6. Not the first rime I am hearing of this. I can recall about three instances of this happening in my lifetime(70yrs) usually around new years day in anse la raye, and the name of this fish has always been a moon or sun fish, however,although always being a weird looking fish, they have always looked different


    • i remember that day in anse la raye when they got that moon fish in their nets...big body fish...they laid it on the jetty and everyone had that opportunity to see what other creatures lived in the seas apart from sardines and balahoo and tuna and these local catches


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