Tuesday 22 October 2019

Giant sunfish washes up on Australian beach

At about 8ft high to its fin-tip, and 6ft long, the monster had ‘rough, leathery skin’, similar to that of a rhinoceros”.

The large sunfish was found by fishermen Hunter Church (left) and Steven Jones (Linette Grzelak/Facebook/PA)
The large sunfish was found by fishermen Hunter Church (left) and Steven Jones (Linette Grzelak/Facebook/PA)

By Emma Bowden, Press Association

A sunfish so big people thought it was part of a boat has washed ashore in South Australia.

The discovery was made by fisherman Steven Jones about 25km east of the River Murray Mouth on the Coorong.

Mr Jones’s partner Linette Grzelak, who posted the pictures on Facebook, said the stretch of beach where the creature was found is only accessible by boat and mainly used by fisheries.

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The fish has become a viral hit online due to its appearance (Linette Grzelak/Facebook)

Ms Grzelak told the Press Association: “My partner, who was out with his cockle fishing crew, came across the sunfish. At first they thought if was a piece of driftwood but as they got closer Steven knew exactly what is was.

“He has been a professional fisherman for years so he had knowledge of them, but had never actually seen one in real life.

“Because they were working they had to leave it and it was taken out by the tide by the time they drove back.”

She added the sunfish, at about 8ft high and 6ft long, had “rough, leathery skin”, similar to that of a rhinoceros”.

Ocean Sunfish (Mola mola) are listed on the Fishes of Australia database as the world’s heaviest bony fish, with National Parks South Australia adding they can weigh more than a car.

They are not “particularly rare” but don’t stay in one area for very long, according to the South Australian Museum.

The discovery has become a hit online due to the fish’s unusual features.

Ms Grzelak said: “I was told by a friend to post it in a local fishing group and then I have just be inundated for the last four days. I never thought that it would be as big as it has been.”

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