Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 13, 2012 Ocean Sunfish Strandings

Ocean Sunfish carcass off South Sunken Meadow, Eastham MA

Today Krill was able to locate and necropsy two medium-sized ocean sunfish that stranded on Cape Cod. The first fish had stranded in South Sunken Meadow and had been reported to Mass Audubon at Wellfleet Bay on Monday, December 10th.

This fish had stranded on the tip of the sand spit leading into the marsh area. Krill was not able to weigh this fish for it was too far from a road access. But she was able to collect photographs, body measurements as well as conduct an internal examination.

As she was finishing the necropsy on this animal, she received a call from Jim Mullin in Brewster. Jim had contacted Krill the day before about a mola carcass off Seaway Road in Brewster. Jim was kind enough to return to the carcass at night at the next low tide and collect photos in case the carcass floated offshore on the next incoming tide.

Photo by Jim Mullin.
Photo by Jim Mullin.
Photo by Jim Mullin.
Jim met Krill down on the beach and helped Krill collect body measurements of this carcass. Jim was very interested in this unusual marine fish and was an excellent assistant over the course of the examinations.

Jim Mullin next to the ocean sunfish carcass.
Like the previous carcass, this ocean sunfish turned out to be a male. But this carcass was in better shape than the one at South Sunken Meadow indicating that it was a fresher carcass.

As dusk approached, Jim and Krill finished up their work on the beach. Time and tide wait for no man and this saying is very appropriate when we rescue or necropsy an ocean sunfish in the field. All in all, a very busy day. These carcasses bring NECWA up to 32 stranded ocean sunfish that we have responded to. That is a new record for us and it is unclear why we are having so many fish stranding on our Cape Cod beaches. 

Ocean Sunfish carcass at Seaway Beach.
Much thanks to Jim for all his help with the ocean sunfish carcass off Seaway Road. Krill couldn't have done the work today without his support and help. Love the people we meet when we do this type of work.