A bit of history died along with a 200-year-old rockfish in Alaska, when his lengthy life ended during a fishing trip off Juneau.
While the 200-year-old rockfish isn’t talking, estimates after the catch place the fish’s birthday sometime in the early 1800s — before the Civil War, the Titanic, and World War II.
Seattle resident Henry Liebman caught the 200-year-old rockfish, sealing its fate in a legendary fishing story he’s already getting “mileage” from after the June catch.
A local paper quotes Liebman on the 200-year-old rockfish and his initial impression, and he said:
“I knew it was abnormally big [but I] didn’t know it was a record until on the way back we looked in the Alaska guide book that was on the boat.”
Liebman told ABC:
I’ve been fishing all my life and I went out targeting this species … I just wanted to try and catch one because no one fishes for them.
Troy Tidingco, Sitka area manager for the state Department of Fish and Game, told the paper that the catch was certified, adding:
“The rougheye is the oldest-aged fish at 205 … [a previously caught] fish was 32 and a half inches long, where Henry’s was almost 41 inches, so his could be substantially older.”
A lab in Juneau is examining the 200-year-old rockfish samples after its June capture, and Livescience reports:
“Scientists can estimate the age of a fish by examining an ear bone known as the otolith, which contains growth rings similar to the annual age rings found in a tree trunk … The longest-lived animal ever found was a quahog clam scooped from the waters off Iceland. The tiny mollusk was estimated to be 400 years old.”
The site adds:
“At 39.08 pounds (17.73 kilograms), Liebman’s fish may also set a record for the largest rockfish ever caught.”
Commenters on the site were less impressed with the 200-year-old rockfish’s fate, saying:
“I don’t understand how he can be proud of killing something this old, of killing some history!”
“Am I the only one that thinks this is very sad. Having lived for 200 years and this is its end?”
Liebman plans to have the 200-year-old rockfish mounted for his wall.