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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

Pay cuts, seating charts, COVID screening: How one Sidney venue is bringing back concerts

A growing number of bars and restaurants are welcoming back musicians under COVID-19 precautions

Head of Vancouver Island Regional Library says new branch in North Saanich hands

Area poised to see strong population growth, says director of corporate communication

Greater Victoria Point-in-Time count finds over 1,500 people homeless

Capital Regional District says count should be treated as an underestimate

PHOTOS: Small crowd gathers to watch 231-tonne stacker-reclaimer loaded onto barge

The Dynamic Beast barge crane, known for work with Johnson Street Bridge, makes a return

Saanich Peninsula Hospital Auxiliary hosts pop-up fundraiser in Sidney

Temporary store to feature unique hand made gifts, collectibles, clothing, books and more

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Most Read