The Blue Reef Aquarium team in Newquay, Cornwall, were called out by lifeguards last weekend to come to the aid of a stranded giant sunfish, the heaviest bony fish in the world.
This unusual looking oceanic fish can be as tall as it is long and adults can weigh as much as 1000kg. The Cornwall sunfish required two men to lift it and according to records is the only live stranding of a sunfish on a Cornish beach in at least 10 years.
With the help of British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), the sunfish was successfully rescued and transferred to Newquay’s harbour where it was re-released back into the ocean aided by the crew from Newquay Sea Safaris.
Ed Wainwright and Jade Hammond were the aquarium’s aquarists at the scene.
“It was amazing to see such a fantastic creature up close. I am really pleased we managed to rescue and keep the fish alive.” Ed said.
“Yes it’s not everyday you get to see a fish like that. It was a great result for the stranded sunfish, especially as they are now a vulnerable species. It was a united effort by everyone involved.” Jade added.
Sunfish typically spend up to half the day on their sides basking in the sun near the surface of the water, which helps to keep their body temperature up after deep water dives hunting for food sources.
Although sunfish prefer warmer tropical and temperate water at around 12 degrees centigrade, it is not uncommon for sightings of the fish in southwest waters as they heat up over summer.
Marine animals in distress can be reported to the BDMLR 24hr hotline 01825 765546.
For more information on visiting The Blue Reef Aquarium Newquay go to www.bluereefaquarium.co.uk/newquay/