Oscar Lundahl was working on his fishing boat recently when he got the catch—and the surprise—of a lifetime. He was reeling in his catch when he noticed something very unusual on the end of his line: an alien-like fish with bulbous eyes that looked like something from a science-fiction movie.
The weird creature is actually called a ratfish. It is a 300-million-year-old relative of the shark that lives in very deep water and is rarely ever caught. Their eyes are so enormous to help them see in the dark, deep depths where they roam.
Lundahl, who is 19 years old and works for Nordic Sea Angling in Sweden, was fishing for halibut off the island of Andoya in northern Norway when he reeled in the ratfish in 2,600-feet deep waters.
The young fisherman described his experience:
“We were looking for blue halibut which is a rare species about five miles (8km) off shore. I had four hooks on one line and felt something quite big on the end of it. It took me about 30 minutes to reel it in because it was 800 metres deep. There were two halibut on two of the hooks and I was really happy about that and then I saw there was something else. It was pretty amazing. I have never seen anything like it before. It just looked weird, a bit dinosaur-like. I didn’t know what it was but my colleague did.”
Lundahl ended up eating the ratfish because the creature did not survive the pressure change when it was reeled in. He said, “It is a bit like cod but tastier.”
I’ll take his word for it.