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200-year-old rockfish pulled from Alaskan waters may be oldest ever caught

Posted at 7:00 PM, Jul 03, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-03 19:05:25-04

ALASKA (PIX11) – A Seattle man recently pulled in a 40-pound shortracker rockfish that is believed to be at the very least 200 years old.  Henry Liebman must have had some sort of luck or some very original bait on June 21 when he went deep-sea fishing off of the Alaskan coast. He put his bait in the water at an approximate depth of 900 feet when he hooked the orange, bug-eyed behemoth.

It’s exact age is not yet clear — scientists will have to open the skull to determine just how old it is by the number of growth rings by its ear bone.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the oldest shortracker rockfish on record is 150 years old. That means that if Liebman’s catch  is truly as old as they believe him to be, this shortracker rockfish will be half a century older than the previous record.

Shortraker Rockfish

Another enormous rockfish caught in 2007. According to the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, the fish weighed 62 pounds and was 112 centimeters (44.1 inches) long. Scientists used growths on the animal’s ear bones to determine that the fish was between 90 to 115 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 said.

Liebman loaned the fish to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, that will determine its age. The fish, according to Liebman, is ultimately going to be mounted as a trophy on his wall back where he lives in Seattle. If this fish is indeed 200 years old or older, it would have been alive during James Monroe’s Presidency between 1817 and 1825.