“I’ve never seen that before.” The chorus of comments from curious bystanders on the beach at Shellharbour last week sent me on a mission.
I‘d not seen one and neither had any of my old-timer, salty mates who’ve spent their lives, harvesting the fruits of the sea.
Later that night came the phone call. “Eureka. It’s a ribbon fish -Trachipterus arcticus – common name ‘dealfish.’” A rare find.
Dealfish are mostly found in the North Atlantic Ocean from Norway and Iceland to Madeira Islands. They are present in the North Sea and the Mediterranean and have been found off the coast of the United States of America.
Dealfish are generally located far out to sea, away from landmasses in waters of around 300 to 1000 metres deep. While they are found in deep water, they don’t live or feed on the seabed, but inhabit the pelagic (mid-water) zone. Dealfish are thought to feed predominately by hunting small fish and squid.
The shoreline sheds another secret of the deep.