As Tamils across the North-East continue to grapple with Sri Lanka’s economic crisis, there was a moment of joy in Mannar last month after fishermen caught a rare giant tropical sunfish.
Fishermen on the Gulf of Mannar noticed the unusual catch in their nets on June 22. As they pulled their nets up, they were stunned to see the large ocean sunfish.
The ocean sunfish is the heaviest bony fish in the world and can grow to a maximum length of 4 and a half feet and weigh up to 2,300 kg. Its unique characteristics include its distinctive mall mouth, fin-like body and stumped tail.
This particular fish weighed in at approximately 55kg and drew a crowd of locals, as well as those attached to the Mandapam Regional Centre of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute in India.
The Gulf of Mannar marine area is famed for its aquatic wildlife, with 104 types of coral reefs, 147 types of seaweeds, sea conchs, turtles, dolphins and other rare species.
The catch comes as Tamil fishermen across the North-East have been struggling amidst Sri Lanka’s economic crisis, which continues to devastate livelihoods across the island.