Sunfish carcass weighing about one tonne washes up on beach

A massive sunfish carcass, weighing about one tonne, had to be removed by a mobile crane after washing up on a beach in Cesenatico, Italy.
A massive sunfish carcass, weighing about one tonne, had to be removed by a mobile crane after washing up on a beach in Cesenatico, Italy.
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A sunfish carcass weighing about one tonne had to be removed by a mobile crane after washing up on a beach.

The dead creature, which looks a bit like an inflatable sun lounger, was spotted on the shore on Sunday (3 Mar) morning.

It took a large team, including council workers and animal care volunteers, to remove it.

Snaps show how it had to be attached to the back of a pickup truck with several cords and pulled away from the water’s edge.

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Then it had to be lifted in the air by a mobile crane and driven away from the scene.

The bulky carcass looks about as wide as the pickup truck that removed it.

A massive sunfish carcass, weighing about one tonne, had to be removed by a mobile crane after washing up on a beach in Cesenatico, Italy.
The sunfish attached to the back of a pick-up truck to be away from the water’s edge. (Picture: Jam Press)

It washed up on Valverde Beach in Cesenatico, south of Venice, Italy.

Sauro Pari from the Cetacean Foundation NPO in nearby Rimini said: “The size of this specimen is not unique.

“Similar incidents have occurred in the past, such as a stranding in 2008 at Rivabella di Rimini of a sunfish over three metres long and weighing 1,080 kilograms.

“The causes of death of this specimen are not easily ascertainable unless there are obvious wounds.

“They could depend on many things, certainly a necropsy analysis would allow for a better understanding of environmental reasons if they were found, such as the presence of heavy metals like mercury, for example.”

The Marine Research Centre Foundation in Cesenatico will take samples of the sunfish for analysis today (5 Mar).

A massive sunfish carcass, weighing about one tonne, had to be removed by a mobile crane after washing up on a beach in Cesenatico, Italy.
The sunfish carcass washing up on the beach. (Picture: Jam Press)

The sunfish is any fish in the genus Mola.

It’s the heaviest bony fish.

The heaviest specimen ever recorded was found dead off the Azores in December 2021.

It was about 12 ft (3.6 m) tall, 11 ft (3.5 m) long, and weighed 6,049 lb (2,744 kg).

Sunfish are found almost everywhere in warm and temperate waters.

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