A deep-sea exotic fish has been found washed up on the British coast in the latest of a series of bizarre findings
The goldfish-like boar fish was spotted floating along a beach in Devon by a family walking their dogs.
Youngsters Ellie, 7, and Lauren, 5, pointed out the strange fish to their sea-obsessed father Ziggy Austin on Maidencombe beach in Torquay.
This is the latest in a series of findings after three of the fish were reported on the Isles of Scilly, one in Newquay and one in Kimmeridge, Dorset over a three-week period in March and April.
Normally no more than two of the fish are recorded to wash up on the coast every year.
The fish, which rarely comes close to the surface from its normally 700-meter deep habitat, could potentially have been killed by oceanic microplastics – a consequence of water pollution.
Subsisting on a diet of worms, prawns and shrimp, the fish consumes creatures well recorded to themselves eat large amounts of microplastics through plankton which then build up in the creature until it dies.
Previous studies into sprat and boar fish fish samples have suggested that there is an ‘abundance’ of the tiny plastics ingested by the creatures.
Ziggy Austin, 38, who has run Rock Solid Coasteering in Devon for seven years, said it was a ‘rare find’.
He said: “It was fresh, it had literally just died, and the weather has been very calm, so it wasn’t pushed here. It must have swum here, but they usually swim in large shoals from the deep ocean.
“I read online that only two wash up a year, so it’s pretty rare.
“I know every single species of fish that’s out there pretty much, and this was something I’d never seen before.
“So the shoes and socks were straight off and I was straight in there – no hesitation, I had to get my hands on it.
“It looked like a goldfish with a giant eye. It was only just in the first stage of rigor mortis, so it must have died in the last half an hour.”