Sunfish stranded on beach rescued by NSRI and lifesavers

– edited by Bev Mortimer

A Sunfish, one of the largest fish in the world, was recently rescued today and moved from being stranded on a Cape beach to swimming back in the waves.

Also known as mola-mola, these fish are often spotted floating on their sides ‘sunbathing’ in summer on the the Cape coast.
The NSRI reports that NSRI members, from station 18 Melkbosstrand, received a call from NSRI Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to assist in the rescue of a sunfish washed up Big Bay. Station 18 commander Hein Kohne joined up with by Wille from Hout Bay Seal Rescue, who called for assistance. He says the sunfish was close to a rock, where the water was turbulent and the risk of being washed up onto the rock was high

Photo of sunfish, below, by Wikipedia

There were three lifeguards from Big Bay already there getting ready to go into the water and the conditions in the water were quite dangerous. The lifeguards managed to fetch the sunfish from the dangerous area and bring it to safety. They secured the fish after a few bumps against the rock . They then waited for the NSRI vessel to arrive.
Class 4 Coxswain Daan Burger launched Station 18’s JetRIB from Small Bay and the NSRI crew carefully lifted the fish onboard the vessel and transported it beyond the break line, to get it free of currents that had brought it ashore.
“The sunfish’s skin is very rough, like sandpaper!” says Daan. “We were careful not to have our skin taken off. We released it into the water, and hung around to make sure it was okay. After a while, it swam off on its own. Luckily we rescued it in time to save it. It was such a great feeling.”

See NSRI video:


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