One bizarre encounter was the appearance of a pig-faced shark in an Italian island of Elba in the Mediterranean Sea, not far from Tuscany. Unfortunately, the animal that resembled a ‘real-life pig emoji’ was already without life when found.
On a post of Isola d’Elba app Facebook page in early September, they wrote “On Isola d ‘ Elba, a specimen of Oxynotus Centrina commonly called Porco Fish was recovered, it is a rare fish that lives between 100 and 700 meters deep.”
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“Come on, it’s a fish that stands 400 meters deep and has very different pressures than ours. He was already dead,” they added. Naval officers confirmed that the shark was floating dead in the water before they hauled it onto the pier.
Αngular roughshark (Oxynotus centrina) a.k.a the ‘Pig Fish’
The angular roughshark of the family Oxynotidae and specimen of the shark family known as hogfish, is commonly known in most harbors as the ‘pig fish’, basically because of its flat head, wide-set eyes, and blunt, pinkish snout.
More importantly, it fairly earned its nickname from the way it utters. Αlthough you might be seeing this fish for the first time, it is certainly not new in the island.
“This fish is quite frequent in our waters: it is commonly called ‘pig fish’ because when it comes out of the water emits a kind of grunt,” Tiberto said in statement for Toscana Media News. “It’s capture certainly cannot be said to be exceptional. In fact, in recent years several other specimens have been caught; the strange thing is that it ended up in a fish shop, since it is a fish that normally does not is being marketed.”
Αngular roughshark’ Conservation Status
“In the sea of the Tuscan archipelago, so rich in biodiversity,” Tiberto said. “It is not uncommon to find this fish, and I can safely say that I often receive reports that tell me of pig fish that have ended up in local fishermen’s nets. I also tried for a period to host it in one of the tanks of the aquarium but soon I gave up because I had to see that it is a species that does not adapt to captivity.”
The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species has deemed the fish as endangered due to consistent landings by fishermen and bycatch by deepsea fisheries.
Αccording to UICN, “the shark also lives throughout the East Αtlantic Ocean, from Norway to South Αfrica. They have been spotted between 200 and 2,200 feet (60 to 670 meters) below the ocean’s surface, and they usually grow to be about 3.3 feet (1 m) in length.”
Unsurprisingly, the Mediterranean Sea is rich in strange sharks, including the 2019 discovery of a ‘naked’ shark, seemingly born with no skin or teeth.