Considered a delicacy in Taiwan, Japan and Korea, but banned in the EU, the ocean sunfish, or mola mola, is found in temperate and tropical waters all over the world. The mola mola is the heaviest bony fish in the world, weighing up to 1 ton (1000kg) due to a diet consisting of large amounts of jellyfish. The average length of the ocean sunfish is 1.8m although specimens up to 3.3m have been recorded. It is a pelagic fish, swimming at depths up to 600m in waters warmer than 10°C. Life expectancy in the natural world is unknown but in captivity may live up to 10 years. In the water, the ocean sunfish is not considered to be a threat to humans – in fact the only known case of a sunfish harming a person was when one leaped out of the water and landed on a boy in a boat. He was shaken but unhurt.
The meat of the sunfish is a delicacy in East Asia, with Taiwan and Japan being the two largest markets. Up to 95% of the fish can be used for either food or traditional medicine. In Taiwan, the fish is most readily caught of the coast of Hualien due to geographic features of the seabed and the workings of the Kuroshio current. In 2002, the Hualien county government decided to officially promote the fish and after a public vote, the name “mambo fish” was chosen.
This series of images from Chisingtan, in Hualien county, Taiwan (Republic of China ROC) showing the mambo fish being offloaded, weighed and moved onto a truck for shipping. I first posted these earlier in the year but thought they were worth looking at again.