Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ocean Sunfish Necropsy on December 3, 2010, 2009 - Town Neck, Sandwich

After Tammy and Krill necropsied the ocean sunfish at Cole Road Beach, they headed to Town Neck Beach in Sandwich, MA to check on another dead ocean sunfish reported just off the boardwalk area. NECWA intern Nick and good friend Peter met Krill and Tammy at the Town Neck parking lot. From there, they headed out to the beach on the bay side to look for the sunfish.

They were able to meet up with Holly and her beautiful dog Ruby, who had reported this ocean sunfish carcass a few days ago. Like Steve in Eastham, Holly was keeping on eye on this carcass to keep Krill updated on its position. Unfortunately for the NECWA team, this carcass was at the base of the boardwalk and within easy access. But by the time the team arrived, the carcass had been moved down the beach quite some distance by the extreme high tides.

Holly, Ruby and their friends joined the team as we walked down the beach in search of the ocean sunfish. The trio of dogs were having a great time on the beach and it was nice to have this type of four-legged company. As dusk quickly approached, the team worked furiously to try and collect all the needed body measurements and tissue samples. Joining us on the beach was Cape Cod Times journalist and photographer Jason, who took pictures and video of our activities.
Jason posted information about this necropsy and the plight of the great ocean sunfish in the Cape Cod Times, both the online and the printed version. We thank Jason for doing this for it helps to get the word out about strandings of ocean sunfish on Cape Cod and the work that NECWA does. A day or so after Jason's articles, NECWA has received numerous emails about ocean sunfish sightings in the New England area and south. And NECWA received a call from Kathy in Brewster about an ocean sunfish off Robbins Hill Road. NECWA staff are gearing up to head down the Brewster this afternoon to check out this report.

Thanks Jason, your article and photos really made a difference!

I will catch up on the rest of this posting when I return from Brewster. Thanks again to all our volunteers who help us find and keep track of these incredible pelagic fish. Although the ocean sunfish is not a fish of interest to any government body or organization, it is a fish of interest to NECWA and to the residents of Cape Cod who admire its size and uniqueness.