PHOTO: 100-Pound Tropical Opah Washes Up on Oregon Coast, First Time in a Decade-Plus

by Shelby Scott

Locals to Sunset Beach, Oregon had quite the shock recently when they found a strange deep-ocean fish had washed up onshore. Identified as an Opah, this particular example of the species measured 3.5 feet long and weighed in at 100 pounds. What makes this breed even more eye-catching is its unique coloring and shape. It has a silvery-colored flat body, with red fins and mouth, and gold-encircled eyes. Truly a mystical sea-creature.

According to USA Today, there is little known about the Opah fish because they mostly inhabit the deep ocean and are found most commonly inhabiting “tropical and temperate waters around the world,” stated the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. This is in contrast to the cold Pacific waters off the coast of OR, although it isn’t technically an unusual occurrence. Read on to learn about the Opah previously found in OR.

A strange yet gorgeous creature, Opahs can grow to be over 6 feet long and weigh up to 600 pounds. Talk about a unique fish. See below for photos posted of the washed-up Opah on the Seaside Aquarium’s Facebook page.

What Do We Do With These Washed-Up Opahs?

Thanks to the assistance of the Seaside Aquarium, this particular Opah will not serve a pointless end. Because of the fish’s well-preserved condition, the aquarium plans to freeze it until the school year begins this fall. Perhaps followers of this story will get to learn a little more about the biology and lifecycle of these fish.

Kieth Chandler, general manager for Seaside Aquarium, plans to work with the Columbia River Maritime Museum’s educational director, Nate Sandel, to decide which “lucky school group” will receive the opportunity to dissect the large fish.

According to the article, the last time one of these rare creatures was recovered was over a decade ago. The previous Opah was found located 37 miles off of the mouth of the Columbia River. That one weighed in at a minimally smaller 97 pounds.

A Large Fish Bombardment?

The Opah is definitely an interesting and eye-catching find, but it’s not the only strange fish we’ve encountered lately. Further east across the United States, Minnesota residents are running into a rather different large-fish issue.

MN residents recently brought to the media’s attention the problems arising from the frequent release of everyday pet store goldfish into the state’s Keller Lake. Due to the fish’s physical properties, it is (literally) becoming a huge environmental problem. Since goldfish grow based on the size of their environment, Burnsville MN representatives are begging locals to refrain from releasing their previously small friends into Keller Lake.

While this issue is absolutely intriguing, these seemingly harmless fish grow to “gargantuan” size when given the opportunity. In large populations, large goldfish “can [wreak] absolute havoc on local ecosystems,” disturbing the sediment at the bottom of the lake and uprooting plants. Some of these particular invaders weigh around 4 pounds and measure around 18 inches long. Check out the photos.