Locals in Bundaberg in southern Queensland, Australia are baffled after a 6-foot-long mysterious sea creature washed up on a beach in the area.
The creature was first discovered by a couple that came across the mysterious creature a few days ago while walking up on a beach at Bundaberg. The couple along with other beachgoers were confused as they were not able to initially identify the creature. They then posted picture of the creature to a local community group on Facebook.
Scientists believe that the creature is likely a Queensland groper, a large fish found in the reefs throughout most of the Indo-Pacific region. They are actually the largest bony fish found in coral reefs, and this makes the discovery at Moore Park Beach puzzling
According to one of the persons who found the fish, it would have been anywhere around 150 kilograms. While one of the persons identified it as a groper, there are those who believe that it may have been a tripletail. The Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol however believe it is a groper.
Gropers, also known as giant groupers, can reach 2.7 meters (8.9 feet) in length and 400 kilograms (880 pounds) in weight. They feed on many different species, including young turtles and small sharks. The groper is a protogynous hermaphrodite, which means that all its offspring are born female and some become male when few males are present. Due to overfishing, its population has plummeted in the last several decades and since the mid-90s it has been listed as vulnerable.
The fish was found halfway between the high and low tide mark. There are no visible clues about how it could have died. Chances are that the fish died a natural death as there are no visible marks of damage on the body.
“How the fish came to be washed up on the beach and its cause of death also cannot be determined,” Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol District Officer Geoffrey Fergusson told News Mail. “The Queensland Groper is a no-take species. In Queensland, catching and possessing this fish is prohibited. If accidentally caught, protected species should not be removed from the water. They should be immediately and carefully returned to the water.”