Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium team were called out on Saturday August 19th by Mawgan Porth beach lifeguards to come to the aid of a stranded giant Sunfish.
With the help of British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), one the worlds heaviest fish species 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 manged to rescue and keep the fish alive.” Ed said.
“Yes it’s not everyday you get to see a fish like that. It was great result for the stranded sunfish, especially as they are now a vulnerable species. It was a united effort by everyone involved.” Jade added.
Dan Jarvis from BDMLR who was also at the scene stated that according to records this is the only live stranding of a Sunfish on a Cornish beach in at least 10 years.
Sunfish are recorded to be the world’s heaviest bony fish and the Cornwall visitor was no exception, requiring 2 men to lift it and measuring in at 66cm in length and 97cm wide. Typically these oceanic fish can reach a weight of anything up to 1000 kg.
They spend up to half the day basking in the sun near the surface of the water on their sides, which helps keep up their body temperature 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.
Issued by Blue Reef Aquarium. For more information please contact Melissa Hallam or Lara Heaney on 01637 878134.
Dan Jarvis, British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 07810 460603.
All photographs by Dan Jarvis/BDMLR’