The carcass of an ocean sunfish was stranded at Penarukan Beach in Bali’s Buleleng regency and almost consumed by local residents, before authorities stepped in and warned them against eating stranded animals.
Local residents came across the carcass on Tuesday afternoon, and promptly alerted authorities of their finding. According to reports, the sunfish was 196 centimeters in length and about 130 centimeters wide. The Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) then proceeded to throw the fish into the ocean to prevent local residents from consuming it.
“Someone wanted to cut up the fish, so we gave them a lesson on why they shouldn’t,” Wayan Parta from Buleleng Police said.
BKSDA Bali spokesman, Meruanto, suspected that the sunfish may have died of old age and got stranded on the beach.
“This is the first time an ocean sunfish got stranded on the northern waters of Bali to my knowledge. Usually, the wildlife that get stranded in this area are dolphins, sharks, or whales,” he said.
Authorities are warning local residents against consuming stranded wildlife, especially as a lab examination found that this particular fish was filled with bacteria and parasites.
Ocean sunfish, also known as Mola mola, is listed as a vulnerable species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries also describe them as “rare,” though they often appear in waters around Bali island between July and September.