Story at a glance

  • Researchers from the Estrecho Marine Biology Station of the University of Seville managed to hoist the large fish out of the water using two cranes.
  • “We tried to put it on the 1,000-kg (2,204.6-lb) scale but it was too heavy. It would’ve broken it,” Enrique Ostale, a marine biologist who heads Seville University’s Marine Biology Lab said.
  • The giant fish was freed from the net and let loose in the ocean.

A massive sunfish estimated to weigh more than 4,000 pounds was freed from a fishing net off the Mediterranean coast of Ceuta earlier this month thanks to the work of marine biologists. 

The enormous sunfish, which is believed to be a record size for the area, was found tangled in the nets of a tuna-fishing boat on Oct. 4 in waters on the north coast of Africa. 

Researchers from the Estrecho Marine Biology Station of the University of Seville managed to hoist the large fish out of the water using two cranes on two boats in order to take measurements. 


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“We tried to put it on the 1,000-kg (2,204.6-lb) scale but it was too heavy. It would’ve broken it,” Enrique Ostale, a marine biologist who heads Seville University’s Marine Biology Lab, told Reuters

“Based off its corpulence and compared with other catches, it must’ve weighed around 2 tonnes (4,409 lb),” he said. 

Researchers said the fish measured 10.5 feet in length and 9.5 feet wide. The sunfish is believed to be a species of sunfish known as Mola alexandrine.

The oddly shaped fish is the heaviest bony fish in the world and can reach weights of up to 5,100 pounds, according to Oceana

“I was stunned. We’d read about such individuals...but never thought we’d actually touch one day,” Ostale told Reuters.

The giant fish was freed from the net and let loose in the sea.


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Published on Oct 21, 2021