A sunfish or locally known as ‘mola-mola’ was recently captured by a fisherman from Balingasag, Misamis Oriental last Wednesday morning. The said creature was still alive when caught, but was already week until it eventually died.

The captured sunfish was estimated by residents to be 60 kg. The fish was quickly brought to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Balingasag.

Sunfish is considered the heaviest known bony fish in the world with adults typically weighing between 247 kg to 1,000 kg. It is usually found in deep parts of the oceans, even observed diving up to 26,000 feet. However, it is known to spend half the day basking in the sun near the surface of the water to warm up after deep dives hunt. Their diet consists of jellyfish and on rare occasions, planktons and small fish. They can also lay up to 300,000,000 eggs at one time, more than any other vertebrate.

Sunfish 'Heaviest Known Bony Fish' Caught in Misamis Oriental
According to a Polynesian legend, the sunfish is considered “King of Mackerel”, thus it was bad luck to kill or eat the said fish because it would prevent the mackerels from making their way to the islands. The superstition may come from the fact that a sunfish’s presence in the water means a healthy biodiversity is occurring.

The speculations and fear of the superstitions came after a series of pelagic fish or deep sea fish had been washing up ashore on Philippine beaches. One particular scare was the dead oarfish which made its way to Barangay Gusa, Cagayan de Oro last week. The incident was considered an omen of an impending earthquake after a similar fish washed up on Surigao days before a deadly earthquake happened.

However, scientists assured the public that sighting of carcasses of deep sea fish ashore is normal and there is no scientifically proven impending doom associated with it.

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