Divers dismayed over capture, death of giant sun fish

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/17 October) — Some local and foreign divers expressed dismay over the capture of a giant ocean sun fish Tuesday in a barangay here, and said the fishermen who caught it should have set it free.

“They could have let it loose not applied hooks and brought it ashore,” diver Paul Dumlao from Surigao City said.

He said if he had known it right away he could have tried to rescue the giant fish and brought it back to deep water.

Ayesha Laurente, another local diver cried foul upon learning that fishermen in Barangay Ipil caught a rare fish.

“If it’s true that there are more sun fish out there, they should not get it because it’s a rare fish,” she said, adding she felt so bad seeing the hapless fish.

“This can be a tourist attraction especially for divers. I hope there are more around here and they don’t catch this rare fish,” she said.

Laurente said she went to Bali, Indonesia last year just to see this kind of fish. “We paid that much just to see this kind of fish in Bali, Indonesia. [But] because it’s rare we failed to see it there.”

Zati Orquina, another diver said he was so shocked when she learned that a sun fish had been caught.

She said fisher folks should be told not to catch it because only a few of its kind is left.

Gianni Grifoni, a Swiss national diver and marine biologist said he didn’t like what the fishermen did to the sun fish.

Ricardo Dionaldo, one of the 10 fishermen who caught the said fish said they did not intend to get the fish whose sheer size amazed them.

“We didn’t know what kind of fish that was,” he told MindaNews on Thursday, adding it looked weak when they saw it.

He said it accidentally got into their net.

Dionaldo said they were looking for a school of big eyed scad locally known as tamarong some 1000 meters from the shoreline of Ipil.

He said if the local authorities allowed them to eat it, it would have been like a feast. “Everybody wanted to get a piece of it.”

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources officials said the ocean sun fish which was caught on Tuesday was 2.165 meters long and 1.322 meters high and weighed 600-800 kilos. It was buried a few hours after it was brought ashore.

Ambrosio Burimbao, another fisherman said that three years ago some fishermen in Barangay Mabua, a neighboring village, caught a much bigger sun fish.

The said fish was brought to Surigao Public Market but no one bought it because it was not common to many. The fishermen brought it back and ate it.

In Dinagat Island province, a sun fish was also caught off Barangay Melgar in Dinagat town about two years ago, according to Danilo Bulabos, the provincial tourism officer. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)