Was this two-ton sunfish a world champ?
Almost a century ago, on September 18, 1908, the Australian steamship Fiona accidentally struck and killed a huge sunfish about 40 miles (65 km) from Sydney and towed it to a harbourside wharf, where it was measured and placed on a weighbridge. According to the December 10, 1910 issue of the The Wide World Magazine (London), the marine monster was 10 feet (3.1 m.) long, 14 feet (4.26m) wide, and weighed two tons four hundredweight (4927 pounds).
It was probably the heaviest bony fish ever caught until then. It lost any claim to a world record when an even larger sunfish was caught off the coast of Japan's Ibaraki prefecture in 1999. Weighing 2.5 tons, and 3.33 metres in length, that monster of the deep is a prize exhibit at the Museum of Natural and Human History in Kitayushi.
But when it comes to finding the world's heaviest fish, whale sharks win first prize. They're the world's largest fish, several times as heavy as any sunfish. [A bony fish is one with a bony (as opposed to cartilaginous) skeleton. Sharks are cartilaginous. Whales are marine mammals, not fish.]
A Canadian group, The Reef Centre for Shark Research, has posted a picture of a huge white shark, with this caption:
"Few things are as stubbornly tough to verify as a Really Big Fish Story," says an article beneath the photo.
"The Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) is generally regarded to be the World's Largest Living Fish, having been reliably reported to reach lengths of at least 16 metres (55 feet), and reputed to reach as long as 18 metres (60 feet).
"However, the largest Whale Shark ever captured measured some 12.6 metres in length and was harpooned off Baba Island (near Karachi, Pakistan) in November 1949. The girth (distance around the thickest part of the body) of this specimen measured some 7 metres (23 feet) and the whole shark was estimated to weigh about 15 tonnes (15.5 tons)."