A 15 foot long oarfish washed up on Shell Beach in La Jolla yesterday. Oarfish are rarely seen in local waters, although there have been a couple seen this year with the extraordinarily warm water from El Niño.
San Diego Lifeguards notified the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which sent a team down to inspect and eventually collect the specimen. “We brought it back to the lab for an ongoing study on the species, which we still know very little about,” said the Coastal Angler Tagging Cooperative on their Facebook page.
Oarfish can grow to more than 50 feet in length, making it the largest bony fish in the world. They are deepwater pelagic species, believed to reside in depths of more than 3,000 feet.
A 17 footer washed ashore on Catalina Island in early June, and an angler aboard the Fortune, a local sportboat caught (foul-hooked) a nearly 20 foot long oarfish near Catalina in late June. That fish was still alive, but not in good condition and was likely in the process of dying as it was unintentionally foul hooked by the angler.