100-Pound Tropical Fish Washes Up On Shore In Pacific Northwest

An Opah was recovered from Sunset Beach, Oregon by Seaside Aquarium employees the morning of July 14, 2021.

Photo: Tiffany Boothe/SeasideAquarium

Many interesting sea life has washed up on shores across the United States, and a recent discovery stunned beachgoers in the Pacific Northwest.

Last Wednesday (July 14), the Seaside Aquarium in Oregon said a large fish was found on Sunset Beach. It wasn't just on oversized salmon or tuna either -- it was a 100-pound Opah fish.

"After seeing photographs of the unusual fish they quickly responded and recovered the fish," staff wrote in a Facebook post. "It created quite the stir at the Aquarium where folks were encouraged to come take a look at this beautiful and odd-looking fish."

What makes the find unusual is that Opahs usually inhabit tropical and temperate climates in the open ocean. While fully-grown Opahs usually weigh 600 pounds and grow to 6 feet in length, it's odd to find one that size out on the Pacific Northwest.

Heidi Dewar, a research biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, told the Washington Post that climate change may have played a role in the stranding. The region did see a record-breaking heat dome affecting wildlife in the area, from birds to farmland crops.

Seaside Aquarium said they will use the fish for educational opportunities. The 100-pound creature will stay frozen until the new school year starts.

"Partnering with the Columbia River Maritime Museum's educational director, Nate Sandel, one lucky school group will get the chance to dissect this large fish," they added.

The previous record-holder was a 97-pound Opah caught 37 miles off the Columbia River Mouth in 2009, according to Oregon Live.

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