Rare 13ft oarfish washes up on California beach

Giant deep-sea fish found on Catalina Island

Giant oarfish washes up on Catalina Island beach in California

A very rare deep-sea oarfish was found washed up on a California beach this week.

The 13ft sea creature was discovered on Catalina Island in Southern California.

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The rare fish was found by Catalina Island Conservancy worker Amy Catalano and a colleague as they were conducting a bird survey.

The conservancy said the fish measured around 13ft, although some reports suggested it was 17ft.

The group uploaded pictures of the find to its Facebook and Twitter pages, and wrote on Pitch Engine: "This is the second time in just under two years that an oarfish has been found on Catalina. In October 2013, two other Catalina Island Conservancy staffers, Alexa Johnson and Rich Zanelli, came across an 18-foot oarfish floundering in the shallows. That fish later died and was pulled ashore.

"Oarfish are pelagic fish that usually inhabit the deep waters of the ocean and are rarely seen near the coast. With their long, slender, silvery bodies, and their bright red elongated dorsal fins, ancient mariners sometimes mistook oarfish as sea serpents."

The fish usually live between 660 feet and 3,280 feet below the surface.

According to the Mirror, Amy, who found the fish, said: "It was amazing, it felt like a movie prop. It looked make-believe almost."

The Guardian reports that local Annie MacAulay said: "I've lived on the island for over 20 years, and I'm on the water all the time ... and I've never seen one."

As oarfish go, this one is actually something of a tiddler. The species can grow up to 50ft in length, and are found in all temperate to tropical oceans.

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