Exceptional: moonfish washes ashore in Nieuwpoort

It’s a particularly rare occurrence in our water: a moonfish that strands in the port channel of Nieuwpoort harbour this week.  It was on Wednesday afternoon that a rambler discovered the animal near the Sport Vlaanderen Building on the promenade.

Biologist Jan Haelters explains that under normal circumstance moonfish occur in more southerly waters, in the Bay of Biscay for instance.

“They are rare in the waters of the North Sea, but may occur during the summer.  However, according to the stats, if one does wash up during the colder time of the year, it’s usually in December or January.”

“The animal probably lost its way and wasn’t up to the weather conditions here.  It’s a small specimen around 50 cm long.  Moonfish can grow to 3 metres.”

The moonfish probably washed up while it was still alive, but soon died.  The specimen was discovered soon after death, so it’s perfect for scientific research.  Nieuwpoort is putting the animal in the freezer for now until a seat of learning shows an interest.