New England Aquarium Divers Rescue Ocean Sunfish Trapped in Eastie

The New England Aquarium released dramatic footage of two of its divers rescuing a juvenile ocean sunfish last week that became trapped in a construction barrier that was placed in the waters off the shore of East Boston. 

“Two of our Giant OceanTank divers made a quick trip to East Boston last week to rescue a Sunfish,” the Aquarium said in a statement. “This sunfish was stuck behind a construction barrier, and our friends at the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance called us for help.”

The ocean sunfish, known as the Mola Mola, is one of the two heaviest known bony fishes in the world. Adults typically weigh between 545–2,205 lb. The species is native to tropical and temperate waters around the world. It resembles a fish head with a tail, and its main body is flattened laterally. Sunfish can be as tall as they are long when their dorsal and ventral fins are extended.

The video footage taken by the Aquarium shows the two divers entering the water just off a pier in Eastie. The divers help the sunfish untangle itself from the netting and maneuver it to the other side so it can swim away into the open harbor. After freeing the majestic fish the divers give the boat a thumbs up to signal a successful rescue. 

The video can be found at 

As the harbor becomes cleaner and cleaner more and more species are migrating closer to the neighborhood. Just the other day residents posted pictures of harbor seals swimming near Lopresti Park. 

The Harbor is home to a wide array of marine life but sometimes the sunfish is mistaken for a whale or even a shark. 

Because ocean sunfish often swim near the surface their protruding dorsal fins and size resembles that of a shark. However, the two can be distinguished by the motion of the fin. Unlike most fish, the sunfish swings its dorsal fin in a characteristic sculling motion to help it swim. 

Despite their size, ocean sunfish are docile and pose no threat to human swimmers or divers. However, collisions with sunfish are common in some parts of the world and can cause damage to the hull of a boat, or to the propellers. 

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