WATCH: Fishermen Rescue Massive Sunfish Weighing Over a Ton Trapped in Nets

by Matthew Memrick

Fishers in Spain rescued a massive sunfish weighing over two tons in their nets on Oct. 4.

The men caught the fish and couldn’t officially weigh it for fear of breaking their scale. This sunfish measured 10.5 feet long and 9.5 feet wide. 

Before they set it free, they pulled it from the water with cranes and studied it, thinking it may be a record size for their waters.

According to the Estrecho Marine Biology Station of the University of Seville, the fishers picked up the entangled sunfish off the north African city of Ceuta. 

Talk About A Big Sunfish

“We tried to put it on the 1,000-kg (2,204.6-pound) scale, but it was too heavy. It would’ve broken it,” the station’s Enrique Ostale told Reuters.

Ostale calculated its approximate weight of around two tons (4,409 pounds) from other catches and the fish’s fatness. 

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest sunfish ever caught was in Kamogawa, Chiba, Japan, in 1996. That fish weighed 2,300 kilograms (5,070 pounds) and measured 8-feet, 11-inches long.

Two Cranes, One Sunfish

The university’s video showed the need for two cranes to hoist the sunfish. After taking ten DNA samples, university researchers identified the fish as a southern sunfish or Mola alexandrine. Some call it a bump-head sunfish. It is comparable to the Mola mola or ocean sunfish.

The fish’s diet consists of small fishes, fish larvae, squid, jellyfish, and other crustaceans. It’s also pretty submissive.

According to the website OceanSunfish, catching these fish is pretty standard for Mediterranean swordfish anglers, but these estimates are from the 1990s.  

Ostale told the news source about being stunned as touching a sunfish after reading about them in the past. He never thought the fishermen would catch one.

But, Ostale admitted having a good deal of stress about the fish and its weight. The men were in the middle of the water with a crane moving a live animal. He added that they couldn’t waste time and had to be careful in documenting and freeing the animal.

Sunfish Fun Facts

These Ocean sunfish have truncated bodies, giving them an unusual appearance. They are among the biggest bony fish in the world.

Can you eat a sunfish? I mean, I guess if you’re angling to log every fish you’ve eaten in a logbook or something. Yeah, sure. But they are a threatened or vulnerable species.

Sunfish are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, including Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. In those countries, all fish parts are edible, and some doctors use the fish in traditional medicine.

The European Union, however, has found toxins in the fish that are harmful to humans. Pufferfish and blowfish are similar to these ocean fish.