Rare and mysterious ‘ghost shark’ boated off Cabo San Lucas

Rare and mysterious ‘ghost shark’ boated off Cabo San Lucas


Rare and mysterious ‘ghost shark’ boated off Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is a world-famous angling paradise known for its glamor species, such as marlin, yellowfin tuna, and colorful mahi-mahi (dorado).

But during the past week, tourists from Minnesota were plying the waters off the Mexican resort destination when they discovered a bizarre-looking fish that represents the polar opposite of glamorous.

Deep-sea chimaera, a.k.a ghost shark, found off Cabo San Lucas. Photo: ©Pisces Sportfishing

The crew of Pisces Adriana, operated by Pisces Sportfishing, collected the peculiar-shaped denizen, which was floating on the surface, and delivered it to the Pisces office inside Cabo San Lucas Marina.

Rogelio Gonzalez Armas, a La Paz-based scientist, identified the fish as a pointy-nosed blue chimaera, a type of “ghost shark” that generally resides about 10,000 feet beneath the surface.

Chimaeras, like the goat-headed, serpent-tailed chimaera of Greek mythology, are a bit creepy-looking.

Their closest living relatives are sharks, and like sharks, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, their bodies “are not stiffened by bones, but by plates and bone-like bits of cartilage.”

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Pointy-nosed blue chimaeras have been documented off Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia, and more recently in the Northern Hemisphere.

Tracy Ehrenberg, the longtime general manager of Pisces Sportfishing, said this was only the third time in her fleet’s 40 years in Cabo San Lucas that a chimaera has been documented.

“Anglers Allan and Donald Kodet, Lee Person and Max Bauer are now a few of the only people in the world to have seen this fish in person,” Ehrenberg wrote on the Pisces blog.

Ehrenberg added, on Facebook, that this was “one of the rarest fish we’ve ever encountered.”

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