On Friday 2 September 2016, we were alerted to the fact that an ocean sunfish (Mola mola) had become trapped in the Robinson dry dock across the road from the Two Oceans Aquarium. A rescue group, comprising of staff, interns and volunteers, quickly assembled.
The dock was draining quickly and the group had to devise a plan to get the fish, estimated to weigh at least 150kg, out of the dock before it was too late. It was a tricky situation as the fish’s size (1.56cm from nose to tail, and 1.94m from fin to fin) and the precariously sheer sides of the dry dock were making the rescue difficult. We also had to work fast as we couldn't risk removing the sunfish from the water for too long.
In the end, the our efforts prevailed and the fish was released into the V&A Marina basin next to the Aquarium.
Mola mola are the most common of the ocean sunfish; they are the world’s heaviest bony fishes and can weigh up to two tonnes. They can grow to be 3.1m long. Ocean sunfish are found in all the oceans of the world, excluding the icy polar seas.