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Friday, October 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington

Sleuthing leads to new findings about peculiar ocean fish

A 35-pound moonfish, also known as opah and normally found in the deep waters near Hawaii, on board his troller Roulette at ANB Harbor in Sitka, Alaska. (JAMES POULSON / Associated Press)
A 35-pound moonfish, also known as opah and normally found in the deep waters near Hawaii, on board his troller Roulette at ANB Harbor in Sitka, Alaska. (JAMES POULSON / Associated Press)
By Phuong Le Associated Press

SEATTLE – Scientists have identified three new species of opah, a colorful, peculiar deep-diving fish that is increasingly served in U.S. restaurants.

A team of researchers with NOAA Fisheries has identified five distinct species of opah, also called moonfish, revealing that there isn’t a single global species.

They describe the differences in a recently published paper in the peer-reviewed journal Zootaxa.

Opah isn’t harvested by commercial fisheries but is often caught incidentally during commercial fishing for tuna or swordfish off the coasts of Hawaii and California.

Sport anglers also catch moonfish, which on average weighs about 100 pounds and can be bigger than an automobile tire.

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