Lisbon oceanarium donates Sunfish to Denmark museum

THREE SUNFISH were recently donated to Denmark’s Sea Museum by the Oceanário de Lisboa. The young fish were transported on board a Boeing 757, owned by transport company DHL, and due to it not being a direct route, the sunfish, taking their maiden flight, were in the air for a total of 12 hours.

The fish left their former home on route for Lisbon airport in special dark hermetic tanks and, on arrival in Denmark, they travelled an hour by lorry to the museum.

The three young sunfish are now safely settled in their new tank at the North Sea Museum in Denmark, however, visitors to the oceanarium in Lisbon have not noticed their absence, because many have been bred in captivity.

The sunfish that were donated each measure around half a metre and weigh 15 kilos, however, when they become adults, they can measure up to three metres and weigh as much as two tons! Sunfishes are the largest bony fish in the world.

These docile creatures often lie on their sides on the surface of the water and drift in the current – this behaviour helps them adjust body temperatures after consecutive dives in deeper, colder water. Females release up to 300 million eggs in the water, which will later be fertilised by passing males. Due to their delicate nature and slow movements, sunfishes easily fall prey to drift nets and other fishing methods. Their numbers are suspected to be steadily declining as a result.

The offer made by the Oceanário de Lisboa will complete the Danish museum’s collection, which sadly was almost entirely lost back in 2003, when a fire destroyed the museum’s main 4.5 ton tank.