Ragfish appear on Juneau beaches

An adult six-foot long ragfish caught during trawling operations. Photo by David Csepp, NOAA.

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – An unusual creature from the deep sea has made at least two appearances in Juneau this summer.

A dead ragfish was recently spotted on Lena Beach. Another was found in May.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration biologist Dave Csepp says ragfish can reach seven feet.  They’re common in the Bering Sea and hang out in waters exceeding 4,600 feet.

The skeletons of the floppy, limp fish are mainly cartilage. Csepp says a rap on the head with a salmon club probably would cut right through a ragfish.

Ragfish have no scales and their skin resembles a squid’s. They feed on small fish and cephalopods and are eaten by sperm whales.

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