A fisherman caught a rare 6ft-long grouper fish in the Philippines.
The lucky trawler sailed early in the morning and was surprised when a huge creature tugged on his net in Quezon province on May 27.
At first he thought it was a turtle but when he checked closer he found out it was a grouper fish, locally known as Lapu-Lapu, that was stuck inside the gear.
He took it to the shore where excited neighbours rushed to have a look before a buyer offered to take the animal for 22,000 PHP, or around 460 USD.
The fisherman’s nephew Lonie Gatongay said: ‘A man bought it from my uncle. I’m not sure what he would do with it but he doesn’t seem to be interested in eating it.
‘We usually catch this fish in the sea but this was the first time we have seen it this big. My uncle was very lucky.’
The fish was still alive and healthy when it was taken back to the port.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) spokesperson Nonie Enolva said this type of fish could grow up to 8ft-long.
He said: ‘Lapu-Lapu mainly grow to 8ft-long and these are the really big ones. The fisherman was lucky to have caught a fish this size.’
Marine specialist Diovanie De Jesus from nonprofit organisation Oceana said the giant fish was a welcome indication that the marine ecosystem in the area was healthy.
He said: ‘This means that there’s high biomass, so higher biomass means that a coral reef area is in better or good health.
‘A Lapu-Lapu is a carnivore. So this means that it eats smaller organisms or smaller fish. If it can eat a lot, it means there’s more fish in the area, which allows it to grow bigger.’
However, he added that it is better to let these giant fish to live in the sea as they could give birth to healthier offsprings.
He said: ‘If they won’t eat a fish of that size, it would be better to let it be. Because it can mature further and give birth. So let’s give it a chance to multiply.’