Biggest fish ever found in Portugal with body weighing three tonnes

Azores: Giant sunfish recorded as world’s heaviest bony fish

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A giant sunfish weighing nearly three tonnes, discovered in the Azores archipelago in Portugal, was named the world’s largest and heaviest fish. The gigantic creature attracted great interest from scientists who examined it thoroughly to determine all of its rare characteristics.

The fish of the species Mola Alexandrini, was found on December 9, 2021, dead and afloat near Faial Island, off Horta harbour, in the central North Atlantic.

It weighs 1,744kg – the weight of an SUV car – and measures more than three metres long.

This species belongs to the osteichthyans as it has a bony skeleton – unlike sharks and rays, which are cartilaginous – and it is the largest-ever recorded.

The animal was subjected to a series of investigations with scientists examining its body and the contents of its stomach and going over its measurements, the newspaper Infobae reported.

When it came to examining its organs, the team had the difficult task of cutting through its skin, which they discovered was almost 20 centimetres thick.

Once all the observations had been completed, the animal was buried in a nearby field, as its large size made it impossible for any local museum to have it on display.

Scientists were unable to determine the exact age of the fish, although estimates suggest that the creature was at least 20 years old.

This age is close to the maximum time this species is believed to live – although its life expectancy is not known for sure.

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A bruise on the side of the animal’s head suggested it was killed after being struck by a boat.

Rice University marine ecologist Kory Evans said: “It’s very rare to find large fish these days given overfishing and habitat degradation.

“It’s a wake-up call that we need to push for more measures on conservation.”

The second largest fish ever discovered was found in Japan in 1996, weighing 2,300kg and measuring just over 2.5 metres.

Additional reporting Maria Ortega

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