The ocean is a vast expanse that makes up more than two thirds of the Earth’s surface. With depths that can reach as much as 11,000 metres, it’s not a stretch to believe strange and rare unfamiliar creatures are lurking far below the surface.
However, sometimes unsuspecting fishing crew find themselves with an interesting – or just plain creepy – catch!
The Wraggs’ team went fishing on the internet to see what we could find about some of the weirdest, accidental ocean finds.
Here are our top three:
Earlier this year off the coast of Australia, a trawler crew caught a two metre long creature resembling an eel, with 300 teeth in 25 rows! It turned out to be a species of prehistoric shark that dates back 80 million years – effectively a living fossil and just one of two species known to still be around from that period. It was caught at 700 metres, but is known to normally dwell at least twice as deep. According to the crew, it was alive when it was brought up, but died shortly after. That makes it the first time the animal has been seen alive by humans!
Two years ago, a very strange looking sea dweller caused confusion after it was caught off the northern coast of Canada. The creature, with a long, pointed nose, terrifying mouth and venomous spikes on its dorsal fin, was initially thought to have been a goblin shark, but it turned out to be a type of fish – a long-nosed chimaera. Since it normally swims at least 1,000 metres deep, this was only the second time the species was documented in that area.
In 1977, a Japanese trawler off the coast of New Zealand pulled up a huge carcass unlike anything the crew had ever seen before. They were sure they had discovered the remains of an undiscovered – or believed to be extinct – animal, as its shape resembled a plesiosaur. Despite the shock and awe at their discovery, the dedicated fisherman threw the carcass back in the ocean, as to not spoil the rest of their catch. However, they took photos, measurements and tissues samples which have helped to conclude that despite the strange appearance, it was most likely the decomposing body of a basking shark.