Keith Chandler, the general manager of Seaside Aquarium, told CNN that an opah on the Oregon coast is “unusual to find” and he also added that the fish was “in such amazing shape.”
“They’re pretty cool fish and we don’t normally see them on the coast,” Chandler said. “It was quite exciting for the locals.”
The opah is an unusual looking fish, according to NOAA they have a round, flat body that is silvery gray in color.
“To the belly (of the fish), the silver hues to a rose-red, dotted with white spots,” NOAA’s website reads. “Their fins and mouth are red and their large eyes are ringed with gold.”
Due to the condition in which the fish was found, Chandler believes he was less than an hour on the beach before aquarium staff were notified.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t wash up alive, but we got there before the birds,” he said.
The opah is stored in a large freezer, Chandler said. The aquarium plans to partner with a local organization, the Columbia River Maritime Museum, to dissect the fish. The aquarium added that a lucky school group will have the chance to be part of the dissection.
Chandler said the aquarium plans to extract “all possible data” from the dissection to learn more about the species.