Rare deep sea-dwelling Zulu fish mysteriously washes up on British beach

A rare deep sea fish has washed up on a beach on a British coast.

The Zulu fish, also known as a Boar fish, was found at Watergate Bay near Newquay in Cornwall.

The striking fish can reach up to 30cm in length and is either orange or red, with unusually large eyes.

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Zulu fish inhabit the north-east Atlantic, from Norway to as far south as Senegal, and usually live at depths of up to 700 metres over rock or coral.

Tracey Williams, of the Lego Lost At Sea social media account, shared a photo of the curious-looking fish on the beach on her Twitter page.

She told CornwallLive: "The Zulu fish is seldom seen rather than rare. It's just rare to find them washed up."

There were a spate of mystery landings by the fish on beaches across the south west in 2018 and 2021, and one was discovered on Downderry beach in Cornwall in February this year.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust has previously said they are only "occasionally" found in Cornwall.

Diver and scientist Dr Keith Hiscock, an associate fellow at Plymouth-based Marine Biological Association MBA, told the BBC during previous strandings that he had only seen the "very skittish" fish while diving once in 2010 off the Isles of Scilly.

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"They look so bizarre and are a curiosity. Why do they come up? Who knows?" he said.

Zulu fish live and feed on or around the seabed and often form into shoals.

They are prey for larger fish such as pollock, bass and cod.

The British Sea Fishing website states that the fish have been ignored as a commercial fish and those large enough to be caught in trawls are usually discarded as bycatch or used to bait crab and lobster pots.

However, recent years have seen commercial fishing companies looking into exploiting Zulu fish commercially in order to process this species into fishmeal.

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