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Gigantic ocean sunfish caught in Taiwan Strait

Sunfish weighed in at 180 kg, sold for NT$20,000

Giant sunfish caught off western Taiwan. (Facebook, Cheng Chun photos)

Giant sunfish caught off western Taiwan. (Facebook, Cheng Chun photos)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Fishermen operating off the coast of western Taiwan on Sunday (Sept. 5) accidentally caught a huge specimen of ocean sunfish, a sea creature rarely seen in the Taiwan Strait.

While trawling off the coast of Chiayi County's Dongshi Township on Sunday, fishermen inadvertently captured a massive sunfish. When it was brought to the Dongshi Fish Market that morning, the behemoth weighed in at 180 kilograms, reported UDN.

At 10:22 a.m. that day, Cheng Chun (成峻), a member of the Facebook group The Beauty of Dongshi (東石之美), posted photos of the formidable fish. According to Cheng, customers and tourists were shocked by its size, and many fish merchants bid eagerly for the rare catch, which was finally sold for NT$20,000 (US$724).

The director of the Chiayi District Fishermen's Association, Wu Chun-yu (吳純裕), was cited by the newspaper as saying that the ocean sunfish, also known as the common mola, is mainly found in the waters off the nation's east coast. He said they are much rarer and more difficult to catch in the Taiwan Strait.

In Taiwan, the fish is typically stir-fried, and its intestines are considered such a delicacy that they are nicknamed "dragon intestines." The ocean sunfish shares the title of the heaviest bony fish in the world with the southern sunfish and feeds on small fish, fish larvae, squid, crustaceans, and jellyfish.

Adult ocean sunfish have few natural enemies with the exception of killer whales, large sharks, sea lions. However, the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the creature as "vulnerable" on its Red List of species at risk of extinction.

Gigantic ocean sunfish caught in Taiwan Strait
Cheng with captured sunfish. (Facebook, Cheng Chun photo)

Gigantic ocean sunfish caught in Taiwan Strait
Closeup of sunfish at Dongshi Fish Market. (Facebook, Cheng Chun photo)

Updated : 2021-09-22 08:29 GMT+08:00