Participants at a surf camp were stunned to find a 3m black marlin floating near a peak they were surfing at Ocean Beach in Denmark on April 14.
Picture by Adrian Shepherd
About 30 surfers were taking part in lessons with several instructors when a fin was spotted offshore, sparking a wave of initial alarm through the pack.
However on closer inspection it was realised the giant fish was dead.
Surf instructor and environmental campaigner Tony Harrison, who strapped the carcass to his leg rope and paddled it to shore, said it was a sign the marine environment was undergoing serious changes.
“First we had the orcas down here, then the whale shark, now a marlin,” he said.
“It was huge, beautiful and just goes to show how things are changing down here.”
Off-duty Fisheries officer and Denmark resident Tim Leary, who inspected the fish at Ocean Beach, said there had been several reports of black marlin washing up on south coast beaches in recent years.
He said a macroscopic examination of the male fish, that measured 3.295m from bill to tail, presented no indication as to the cause of death.
“There were no hook or net marks, signs of disease, necrosis or parasites obvious,” he said.
“They are a magnificent beast … if we were living in a less affluent country I wouldn’t be surprised if it would have been eaten.”
The fish was buried away from the waters edge by Shire of Denmark to ensure the decomposing carcass did not act as shark attractant.