Last Thursday, a rare oarfish washed up on the shores of New Zealand. Scientists were able to take samples of the fish, and it’s a good thing they did because it quickly disappeared.
“This Oarfish washed up on Aramoana Spit at the entrance to Otago Harbour this morning,” the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre and Aquarium said in a Facebook post last Thursday. “It is 3-metres long but they can apparently reach lengths over 8 m. Described as long-distance ocean drifters, they are usually found hanging in vertical position in the upper 300 m of the water column. It has been claimed that specimens larger than 1.5m shorten their length by self-amputation (Tyson Roberts). Healthy Oarfish are known to wash up on beaches and are sometimes found near the water surface — so may be the origin of some ‘sea monster’ myths.”
By the end of the weekend, the fish was gone. David Agnew of the Department of Conservation said that it likely either washed away or was stolen by someone. If someone does indeed have it, Agnew offered them a grim warning if they’re planning on eating it.
“You’d be taking a chance,” he said, according to The Blaze.
Tessa Mills from the University of Otago New Zealand Marine Studies Centre added that the fish would likely taste awful.
”[I]t would have been quite gelatinous,” she said.
Oarfish are extremely rare and when they are seen, they are typically dead. The video above depicts one of the rare times an oarfish was seen alive.