A New Brunswick man made a surprising discovery this week while walking his dog — an ocean sunfish, or 'mola mola', washed up on the banks of the Miramichi River — and this is the second fish of this type to be found washed up on the province's shores in the past two months.
Scott Campbell, who discovered the 11 kg fish, emailed a picture of it to Laurent Robichaud, at the New Brunswick Aquarium and Marine Centre, and according to CBC News, Robichaud said that it was "odd" for an ocean fish like this one to be found in fresh water.
"It must have been lost or following some jellyfish and eventually ended up in the river and got disoriented and eventually died, 'cause it doesn't live in fresh water,” Robichaud said in the interview, adding that high tides may have carried it up the river.
[ More Geekquinox: Study hints at new state of consciousness that could exist during surgery ]
Ocean sunfish are considered the heaviest bony fish known, averaging 1,000 kg and growing to roughly 2 metres in length. At only 11 kg, this particular specimen was fairly small. The one found in St. Andrews, in southern New Brunswick, just a month ago, was around 160 kg. These fish live in warmer regions of the world's oceans, as they can't tolerate water with temperatures lower than about 12°C for long periods of time.
Amanda Babin, a masters student at the University of New Brunswick, who helps teach a marine biology course at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre, told CBC News last month that temperatures in the Bay of Fundy had reached around 12°C, so more of these fish may be coming further north.
Indeed, scientists have been finding that ocean species are on the move, due to the effects of climate change, searching out new territory as ocean temperatures shift.
Geek out with the latest in science and weather.
Follow @ygeekquinox on Twitter!