B.C. beachgoers find large, bizarre fish on shore | Kamloops News | iNFOnews

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B.C. beachgoers find large, bizarre fish on shore

A King-of-the-salmon, seen Sept. 18 in Sooke, B.C.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Dana LeComte
September 27, 2020 - 8:00 AM

A B.C. family was enjoying a walk on the beach last week when they found a strange fish washed up on shore.

"My daughter spotted the fish while we were walking on Whiffen Spit Park in Sooke," Sooke B.C. local Dana LeComte said. "We thought it was amazing. Perfectly intact and the huge eye made us think it was a deep water fish."

Aquatic ecologist Brian Heise identified the fish as a king-of-the-salmon, a species of ribbonfish.

As it turns out, LeComte's guess of where it came from was right on the money.

"They are solitary and usually found in deep water," Heise said. "They are saltwater fish, found in the open ocean up to 900 metres (deep)."

That's why they have such large eyes, he said, as it allows them to capture more light in order to see in the dark depths of the ocean.

A King-of-the-salmon, seen Sept. 18 in Sooke, B.C.
A King-of-the-salmon, seen Sept. 18 in Sooke, B.C.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Dana LeComte

Although the fish found in Sooke was pretty big, Heise said that they can grow much larger, around six feet long. 

Sometimes they come closer to shore and feed on the bottom, most adults feeding on fish and small squid.

The king-of-the-salmon have some interesting mythology attached to them which helps explains their name.

"The indigenous Makah thought they led the salmon back to their spawning rivers, and so you're not supposed to kill them," Heise said.

Not much is known about these mysterious creatures, as they are a deep water fish and rarely sighted.

However, a particularly large one was found this past June in Salt Creek, west of Port Angeles, Washington.

To see more photos and documentation of king-of-the-salmon sightings, click here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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