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4/17/2014 9:22:58 PM

Second giant oarfish found off California coast within a week

Southern California's coastline is getting fishier and fishier. Less than a week after an extremely rare, 18-foot oarfish was discovered near Catalina Island a second has washed ashore at nearby Oceanside.

The long, slippery fish, whose lore dates back to sightings of sea monsters and mermaids, was pulled from the water Friday before its carcass was measured at an astounding 13 1/2 feet long, UT San Diego reports.

“We are very intrigued,” Russ Vetter, director of Southwest Fisheries Science Center, told the Daily News. “This is an opportunity for… the scientific community to study different aspects of this fish that we know absolutely nothing about.”

Though a whopping length — with concerned beachgoers initially reporting it to police as a possible beached whale — the monstrosity of the fish was actually puny in comparison to the 50-foot size it can grow to, according to the Catalina Island Marine Institute.

As the area's marine biologists flocked to the scene Friday so did a reported crowd of 75 people hoping to bear witness to the spectacular creature, which is the largest and rarest bony fish in the world.

The fish was then cut into sections before packed into coolers for transport by an official with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U-T reports.

“We put it on our specimen freezer and we are going to dissect it on Monday morning with a group of experts,” said Vetter. Despite its smaller size the find will undoubtedly prove fascinating to marine biologists with it coming not only with several days but several miles of the last.

Scientists reason that their sightings are extremely rare because they live at depths of more than 3,000 feet below the ocean's surface.

When they are seen it's usually only after they've died and their bodies have risen to the top.
“We will be very interested – if it has any stomach contents – (in) what it was eating. At first glance, it was pretty heavy so it didn’t appear to be starving," said Vetter.

The oarfish collected five days earlier by the Catalina Island Marine Institute had tissue samples and footage of the find — which required more than a dozen people to lift up — sent to a fish expert with the University of California at Santa Barbara for analysis, CIMI previously told the Daily News.

CIMI's program director, Jeff Chase, said that he hoped to bury the rest of the body on the beach later so that it could naturally decompose, revealing its skeleton before collection again.

assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly fs/1.1491055.1382294785!/img/httpImage/image.jpg gen/derivatives/landscape 635/giant fish.jpg
An oarfish measuring nearly 14 feet long is seen after washing up on a beach near Oceanside, Calif. Friday.

Santana at first tried to lift the fish by its head, but found it too heavy. She then grabbed it by the tail, propelling herself to the surface, where she found staff from the institute eager to help.


Related news: http://news.asiantown.net/r/31437/foot-giant-fish-washed-up-from-the-deep-off-the-southern-california-coast

Second giant oarfish found off California coast within a weekSecond giant oarfish found off California coast within a week

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