Last week, a large and colorful fish washed up on the Oregon coast in what aquarium officials described as a rare event. The 100-pound (45 kg) opah fish was found on Sunset Beach in Seaside. It is also known as a “moonfish” and was located in the northwest corner of the state. Seaside Aquarium stated that the fish is rare to the Oregon Coast.
Seaside Aquarium’s general manager Keith Chandler told Daily Reuters that an Oregon coast opah is not common to find and that the fish was in “excellent shape.”
Chandler said, “They are pretty cool fish and we don’t usually see them on shore.” It was quite exciting for the locals.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, (NOAA), says that little information is available about the species because they live deep under the sea. This species can be found in tropical and temperate waters.
According to NOAA, the opah has a unique appearance. It is a fish with a flat, round body and is silvery gray in color.
NOAA’s website states that “Towards the belly (of fish), the silver shades change to a rose-red, dotted with spots of white,” Their large eyes and mouth are covered in gold.
Chandler believes that the fish had been only on the beach for less then an hour before it was notified by the aquarium staff.
He said, “Unfortunately it washed up, not living, but it was there before the birds.”
Chandler stated that the opah was being kept in a large freezer. The aquarium will work with the Columbia River Maritime Museum to dissect these fish. The aquarium stated that one school group will be selected to participate in the dissection.