December 04, 2019
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Fishermen have been seeing sunfish every day this summer in Maine

Courtesy of Jeremy Everly / WGME
Courtesy of Jeremy Everly / WGME

That big blob you see while boating in Maine could be a shark, but it could also be a sunfish, a prehistoric-looking fish that is showing up a lot more this summer on the Maine coast than in years past.

The fish can grow to 11 feet wide and weigh around 2-and-a-half tons.

“There has been a lot more of them this year,” said Allen Church, a Gouldsboro lobsterman. “We see them every day pretty much now.”

They are also weird looking.

“It looks just like a fish head, you know,” said Sullivan lobsterman Mile Sargent. “They are really weird looking.”

Sargent said he saw 30 sunfish in one day earlier this summer. He said he usually only sees four or five a year.

A professor at the University of Maine’s School of Marine Sciences says changes in the gulf stream may be delivering more of the fish to the area.

“There is no question that there is a lot more of them,” said Robert Steneck, a professor at the University of Maine’s School of Marine Sciences. “Since sunfish, by in large, are surface dwellers, it’s entirely possible that they could be coming in at higher numbers just simply because of being delivered to Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine at higher numbers.”

 



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