Beached giant Ocean Sunfish in CDO dies
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/19 July) — An Ocean Sunfish, also known as “Mola mola,” beached on the shores of Barangay Macabalan here Friday dawn, startling residents who were awed by its sheer size and the noise it made.
The fish, weighing at least 200 kilos and measuring about seven feet long, died hours after it was found by Macabalan resident Alcer Padera.
Officials said the fish “got stressed when curious people started gathering to see it.”
Miguelito Lim, of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ (BFAR) Fishery Law Enforcement Quick Response team, said Padera narrated to him that he was roused from sleep at around 2 a.m. Friday after hearing something big crashing against his house along the Macabalan shoreline.
“When he took out his flashlight, he saw that it was a big fish,” Lim narrated Padera’s account.
Lim said the fish made loud noises at it slammed on the wooden stilts of Padera’s house, rousing his neighbors also.
He said Padera and his neighbors even tried to bring the big fish to the deeper portion of the shore to allow it to swim back to the sea.
“Padera told us they tried to bring the fish twice to the deeper portion but the fish kept going back under his house,” Lim said.
Lim said by the time they arrived at the site at around 7 a.m., the fish has already died.
Teodoro Bacolod Jr., head of BFAR’s Fisheries Inspection and Quarantine Services, said the Ocean Sunfish, which is the “heaviest known bony fish in the world,” might have been “disoriented” when it strayed to the shores of Macabalan.
He said the fish is commonly found in the deeper portion of the tropical waters in Central Philippines.
“It might have been a change in the water temperature because of climate change. There are so many factors that could have disoriented the fish to stray,” Bacolod said, adding the fish died “because of stress when people started to gather and touched it.”
“These fishes are known to be solitary sea travelers. Some roam the sea in pairs but never in a pack,” he said.
Bacolod said the fish may have been a juvenile considering that a matured Ocean Sunfish weighs up to at least 1,000 kilos.
He said the fish usually subsists on jellyfish, small crabs and shrimps.
The BFAR has not categorized the Ocean Sunfish as endangered but other countries in Europe ban its sale. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)