Insurance Adjuster Catches 200-Year-Old Fish In Alaska
July 3, 2013

Insurance Adjuster Catches 200-Year-Old Fish In Alaska

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Forget catch of the century -- an insurance adjuster from Seattle has landed a shortraker rockfish that is believed to be at least 200 years old, various media outlets reported on Tuesday.

According to Discovery News, the 39.08-pound, nearly 41-inch fish was caught on June 21 by Henry Liebman off the coast of Sitka, Alaska. It could well be the oldest rockfish ever captured by a fisherman.

It is the largest fish of its kind ever captured, reported Lee Moran of the New York Daily News. The previous record, Moran said, was a 32.5-inch, 200-year-old guppy, while the oldest shortraker ever captured was reportedly 175 years old.

"I knew it was abnormally big (but I) didn't know it was a record until on the way back we looked in the Alaska guide book that was on the boat," Liebman told the Daily Sitka Sentinel.

Since Liebman's catch is larger, many experts believe it is most likely considerably older as well, Moran added. If it does wind up being a 200-year-old fish, it would mean that it was born before the US purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867.

To put the estimated age of the fish in perspective, USA Today's Ruby Edmonson offers up this fun fact: if it was born in 1813, there would have been just 18 states in the US, and James Madison would have been president.

Furthermore, the rockfish would have been pushing 50 years old by the time the Civil War started in 1861, and it would have been 66 when the light bulb was invented in 1879, she added.

Of course, the age of the fish has not yet officially been determined. Samples from the creature have reportedly been sent to a lab in Juneau, where its age will be determined. Scientists will be able to tell how old the fish is by examining an ear bone which contains growth rings, similar to those found in tree trunks.

"Liebman reportedly returned home with his haul which he says he will now mount on his wall," Moran wrote.

That decision has not exactly been a popular one. According to the Daily News, "his plans have sparked anger on Twitter, with many criticizing him for killing the 'beautiful' creature and asking why he didn't return it to the sea soon after."