Fishing in 275m of water.

Thats a damn long way down to be fishing!


Alaskan man catches fish believed to be 200 years old


Henry Liebman with the shortraker rockfish that has been estimated at up to 200 years old. It’s not your everyday catch.

A fisherman off the coast of southern Alaska has reeled in a ‘shortraker’ that’s bright pink, more than a metre long and believed to be up to 200 years old.

The fish, a type of rockfish, was caught in 275 metres of water, weighed in at 17.7 kilograms and was just under 104 centimetres long, the LA Times reported.

Sport fisherman Henry Liebman, from Seattle, holds his record-breaking shortraker rockfish at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game office. Photo: AP

But it was its age that saw the fish become an internet sensation.

Troy Tidingco, Sitka area manager for the state Department of Fish and Game, certified Henry Liebman’s catch and told the Daily Sitka Sentinel that the fish might be in the neighbourhood of 200 years old.

“The rougheye is the oldest-aged fish at 205,” Tydingco told the paper.

He said oldest shortraker caught had been 175 years, but that fish “was quite a bit smaller than the one Henry caught.”

“So his could be substantially older,” he said.

Samples of the fish have been sent to a laboratory where the actual age will be determined.

The LA Times reported that the fish was likely to be at least 100 years old, and that scientists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game would determine the precise age by slicing through the fish’s head and removing two small ear bones called otoliths that float in a cavity beneath the brain.

The otoliths have rings like a tree, which allow scientists to estimate how old the fish is by counting the rings.

The Times also reported the reason why MR Liebman did not throw the ancient fish back into the ocean.

“When a rockfish caught in 275 metres of water is brought to the surface it usually dies,” Julie Speegle, a spokeswoman for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Alaska region told reporter Deborah Netburn.

This was because the fish have a gas-filled “swim bladder” that they use to control buoyancy. When they are brought to the surface, the gas in the bladder expands and can cause it to burst, killing the fish.

Kristen Green, a ground fish biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, told the Times that what made this catch unusual was that it was brought in by a recreational fisherman.

“There is always a feeling that it is sad when something this old is taken from the sea, but this is a drop in the bucket compared to what the commercial fisheries take,” Green said.

“He just happened to be fishing at a really deep depth. Most recreational fisherman don’t fish that deep.”

Story courtesy of Sydney Morning Herald

July 4, 2013
Posted in Uncategorized.