posted on Oct, 21 2004 @ 11:54 PM
A sunfish that washed up near the base of Farewell Spit is a monster with a strange sense of timing, a marine expert says.
The 3m sunfish was discovered at Taupata Creek near Puponga by passers-by on Sunday.
Department of Conservation worker and Pakawau resident Heather Gunn said she was driving past when she saw "a big lump" on the beach, which she
initially thought to be a whale.
"It looked fresh. It did not smell and it had not been pecked over."
A sunfish washed up on Farewell Spit at Christmas 2002, and another was washed up on Pakawau Beach about four years ago.
DOC marine specialist Andrew Baxter said the most recent sunfish discovery was "a real oddity" because of the time of year.
"The literature says they can be found in New Zealand's north-eastern waters in warm summers, and they can stray south of Cook Strait. But this is
definitely not a warm summer, rather a cold spring."
Mr Baxter said sunfish could grow up to 3m long and weigh up to a tonne.
After seeing a photograph of the sunfish, Mr Baxter estimated it was between 2m and 3m long.