The strange fish was nearly three meters long and had no scales to be seen. (Octavian Lacatusu/Oak Bay News)

UPDATED: Rare ‘king-of-the-salmon’ washes up on Oak Bay beach

The rare type of ribbonfish was found by a man walking his dog on Rattenbury Beach.

A strange sea creature that washed up on Oak Bay’s Rattenbury Beach late Thursday morning has been identified as a very rare king-of-the-salmon, according to a local biologist.

The unique name of the king-of-the-salmon originates from Makah First Nation legend, in which the fish (Trachiptreus altivelis) was believed to be the “king” that would lead salmon back to their rivers to spawn, noted Jackie Hildering, a biologist and marine educator, who goes by the handle of The Marine Detective on her blog.

The strange-looking fish, at more than two metres long, was found deceased beside the water by a man who was walking on the beach with his dog.

“I was just walking along with my dog and saw this bright shining fish here, and I never saw anything like it, so I was interested,” Ben Baker, who found the creature, told Oak Bay News. “I have no idea what it could be, maybe an oarfish, but who knows.”

Another video, posted on Facebook an hour prior by Peter Rowand, showed the fish was already in trouble as it floated aimlessly closer and closer to shore.

Unsurprisingly, king-of-the-salmon belong to the ribbonfish family, (Trachipteridae) are extremely thin and reach lengths longer than two metres. The long and high crimson-coloured dorsal fin is also very reminiscent of a ribbon, tapering down the full length of the fish’s back. These fish move in a snake-like fashion, undulating their long bodies.

As adult king-of-the-salmon feed in the open ocean at depths of 900 metres or more (3,000 ft) they very rarely make an appearance ashore, Hildering said.

In Makah culture, killing one would bring bad luck, causing the death of the salmon.

For more info on this fascinating fish, check out themarinedetective.com.

octavian.lacatusu@oakbaynews.com

 

Ben Baker taking a closer look at his strange discovery. (Octavian Lacatusu/Oak Bay News)

A massive eye was clear and intact, bearing no resemblance to any other fish seen recently. (Octavian Lacatusu/Oak Bay News)

The strange fish was more than two meters long and had nearly no fins whatsoever. (Octavian Lacatusu/Oak Bay News)

Just Posted

Most Victoria transit takers thank their driver: poll

Bus riders thank drivers on Transit Driver Appreciation Day

Volunteer needed to empty dog poop can in Saanich Park

Local volunteers do the work of irresponsible dog owners at Mount Doug

Vancouver Island overdue for the big one, can also expect mega-thrust tsunami

The last big earthquake was 70 years ago in Courtenay

Sexual assault charge dropped against former CFB Esquimalt member

Navy Lt. Ronald Clancy was charged with two counts of sexual assault in August 2018

BC Ferries considers passenger only ferry between West Shore and Victoria

Royal Bay, Esquimalt and Ship Point considered as part of study into new route

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Most Read