Giant sunfish weighing 1000 kg caught and released near Ceuta

by Deborah Cater
Sunfish measured by scientists

Scientists in Spain captured and released a huge sunfish measuring 3.2 metres from fin to fin. They caught it near the enclave of Ceuta.

Sunfish are rather bizarre looking creatures. Disc-like, their head appears to dwarf the tail.

Captured in underwater chamber

Marine biologists trapped the fish in an underwater chamber. It needed two cranes to haul it aboard their vessel.

Once aboard it was measure and examined. The sunfish weighed in at a tonne, and measured 2.9 metres in length and 3.2 metres from fin to fin.

Researchers from the US Marine Biology Laboratory, led by Professor José Carlos García Gómez, together with colleagues from Switzerland, are working on monitoring the population of sunfish that pass through Ceuta, Sevilla University said.

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They are working to identify the morphological and genetic differences between the “Mola mola” and the “Mola Alexandrini” species.

This specimen belongs to the “Mola Alexandrini” species, researchers said.

Sunfish has strange behaviour

The fish, also has a strange behaviour. They bask on their sides on the sea’s surface, in behaviour scientists believe may be a strategy of “thermal recharging” following feeding dives into deeper, colder water.

The Guinness Book of World Records has details of a specimen, found off the Japanese shores of Kamogawa. It measured 2.72metres in length, and weighed 2,300kg.

The video below shows the fish being weighed and released. The diver accompanied the fish to ensure it moved away from the boats without hurting itself.

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