Another Rare Oarfish Washes Up in Southern California

Police said they recognized the rare, deep-water fish from news reports

Another rare oarfish, a serpent-like sea creature, was discovered in Southern California for the second time this week, this time along the coast of San Diego County.

A crowd of 50 to 75 beachgoers gathered around the carcass of a silver-bodied oarfish that washed ashore in Oceanside Harbor on Friday afternoon.

The NOAA arrived to retrieve the nearly 14-foot-long fish, pictured below. Police said the oarfish was cut into pieces and hauled away in coolers.

Officers said they had never witnessed anything like it, but they recognized the mysterious, deep-water fish after it made national headlines earlier this week.

"The only reason we knew what it was, was because we saw the news reports from Catalina," Oceanside Police Officer Jon Hoover said.

It took more than 15 people last weekend to drag an oarfish from the waters off Catalina Island. A marine science instructor was snorkeling when she spotted the 18-foot carcass with eyes the size of half dollars.

The oarfish can grow to more than 50 feet, making it the longest bony fish in the world, according to the Catalina Island Marine Institute.


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Because oarfish dive more than 3,000 feet deep, sightings of the creatures are rare. They are likely responsible for sea serpent legends throughout history.

The second oarfish marks the third ocean rarity to surface in Southern California in a single week. A rare beaked whale washed ashore in Venice and, pending further tests, may be even more unique than experts originally thought.

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