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Ancient fish is boated

APRIL 9 — A crew of commercial fishermen trawling for pollock off Alaska recently hauled in a giant rockfish that experts believe is about a century old.

The 44-inch, 60-pound female shortraker rockfish was found in a haul of about 75 tons of pollock in the Bering Sea last month south of the Pribilof Islands, an Associated Press report says. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration examined the fish and estimate it is 90 to 115 years old.

Despite its notability, the fish is neither the largest nor the oldest rockfish recorded, the news report says. Estimates put the maximum age for this type of fish at nearly 160 years and, according to the book “Fishes of Alaska,” a 47-inch shortraker rockfish was once recorded.

Scientists also examined the contents of the fish’s stomach and its reproductive capabilities, the report says. “The belly was large,” a researcher says in the report. “The ovaries were full of developing embryos.”

Jason Fell