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Jul-23-2006 22:43printcomments

Strange Fish Found on Beach Near Seaside

The extremely rare fish's name stems from Indian lore when it was believed that the King of the Salmon led the smaller species back to the rivers to spawn.

image: King-of-the-Salmon (Trachipterus Altivelis)
Photo courtesy: Seaside Aquarium and

(SEASIDE) - There was a strange find on the Oregon coast this weekend, not too far from Seaside. Keith Chandler and Tiffany Boothe, of the Seaside Aquarium, say they got a tip about a strange fish that washed up at Sunset Beach, just south of Astoria and it led to a most unusual discovery.

Boothe and Chandler went to the beach and discovered a very rare find: a fish called King-of-the-Salmon (Trachipterus Altivelis), which normally lives around 1600 feet under the sea.

“He belongs to the family of Ribbonfish,” Boothe said. “There are four other species of Ribbonfish along our coast, but the King-of-the-Salmon is the largest; growing up to and possibly exceeding six feet. This one measured almost exactly 6 feet. They can be found down as far as 1600 feet from Alaska to Baja and along the Coast of Chile.”

Chandler said this was the first time he’d ever seen this in his 27 years of marine science career. He said he did not know what conditions could’ve brought the creature up this far above its normal environment. “The name, King-of-the-Salmon, originated from an Indian legend which describes this fish as the 'king' who leads the salmon back to the rivers to spawn,” Boothe said. “They are rarely seen, but fisherman have been known to catch them both in nets and on line (though it is not too common). The adults eat squid and juvenile rockfish.”

Another interesting note from the coast this weekend is glowing phytoplankton that has been making itself seen on the beaches at night.

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Visitors in Newport have seen the phenomenon, which is visible as tiny, faint bluish sparks in wet sand or pools of water that have been standing some time. They are created when you move your foot along the sand, kick the sand or pound your foot in the sand or in those pools of water.

This sighting – unusual for the Oregon coast, but more common in warmer waters of the world – is created by dinoflagellates, a form of phytoplankton which is bioluminescent, not unlike fireflies.


Comments are Closed on this story.

oh June 25, 2008 7:06 pm (Pacific time)

WHAT the heck is that thing omg i have nevr seen a deadly death frEAKY thing like that! are you crayz

Angelica March 13, 2008 2:22 pm (Pacific time)

omg what the heck is that ive seen some wierd fishes but thats the wierdest you never know what lies under the sea (tan tan taaaaaaaan)lolz!

Anonymous August 30, 2007 2:45 pm (Pacific time)

I think it had an issue with some bad bubble gum!!!:):):)

Allixx June 7, 2007 8:48 am (Pacific time)

omg ! look at its eye !! its frekken huge !!

danthon December 22, 2006 10:13 am (Pacific time)

I have seen dinoflagellates all my life much farther north on beaches and in the water around vancouver island. Is it really that abnormal?

ovenface December 16, 2006 9:33 pm (Pacific time)

It's clearly a fish- you can see the lateral line, the fish like eye and jaw, a fin and mutilated gills. As for the phytoplankton, this year is an El Nino year. El Nino perpetuates warmer water in a line across the pacific ocean. This is what's causing the abnormal levels of phytoplankton, though global warming may be intensifying the effects.

Vodric December 16, 2006 5:27 pm (Pacific time)

That looks more like a mutilated squid than a fish. I don't see any gills or body fins. Though the eye is fishlike.

nephildevil December 10, 2006 3:35 pm (Pacific time)

cool fish!

brandon pollard October 5, 2006 11:23 am (Pacific time)


Anonymous July 27, 2006 9:27 pm (Pacific time)

Those dinolfagellates are showing up in unusual areas due to global warming, and their presence is casuing a 'Dead Zone' in the ocean (area of low oxygen), which is causing alot of fish in the Oregon Coast area to die and wash up on shore.

John William July 26, 2006 7:52 pm (Pacific time)

Dear Sirs: I expect further research will any abnormalities.One fish in thirty years is not too. suspect. The possible warming of the average temperatures in the ocean may bring up future discoveries.

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