UCSB Expert To Help ID Rare Fish Discovery

"Oarfish" Species Rarely Seen or Studied

POSTED: 05:33 PM PDT Oct 14, 2013    UPDATED: 08:46 PM PDT Oct 14, 2013 
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CATALINA ISLAND, Calif. -

Marine experts on Catalina Island made a startling discovery Sunday:  a fully grown dead "Oarfish," best known for its long, narrow body.

The fish was discovered underwater lying on the seabed by Jasmine Santana, an instructor for Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI).  As she was snorkeling, she was startled by the fish until she realized it was dead, and began to bring it ashore.   In total, it took 15 people to remove it from the water at Toyon Bay.

Oarfish live in warmer to tropical waters but are not often seen by people.  The fish is the longest of its species, and can measure up to 56 feet long.  Experts believe it can be found in waters more than 3,000 feet deep, which is why they are rarely seen or studied.  Many experts believe the Oarfish is often mistaken as a 'sea serpent' by those who don't recognize the species.

CIMI instructors sent tissue samples and footage to fish expert Milton Love at UCSB to confirm conclusions their discovery is a dead Oarfish.