Newfoundland fishermen snag sea monster in nets

By | March 8, 2010

Newfoundland fishermen snag sea monster in nets

Above is an illustration of the sea creature described by fisherman John Marsh of Lower Lance Cove, Trinity Bay. The carcass of the creature was entangled in a net belonging to his son and nephew. The carcass sank before Marsh could secure a sample. — Illustration by Robert Simon/The Telegram

The depths of the Atlantic Ocean are filled with all kinds of strange critters and creatures – maybe some we’ve never seen or heard of before.

Maybe John Marsh has discovered one of them.

Marsh, a fisherman in Lower Lance Cove, Trinity Bay, for nearly 60 years, says he’s never seen anything like the animal found caught in his son and nephew’s caplin traps last summer.

In a letter to The Telegram, Marsh describes in detail the creature he tried to help out of the trap, from its rounded teeth and camel-like lips to the end of its three-pointed tail.

“It’s almost too strange to talk about. It almost don’t sound real, but I told you the story of it and we’ve seen it,” Marsh says over the phone from his Lower Lance Cove home.

The day his son and nephew were out fishing, Marsh says he was called to help them cut something out of the nets – a whale got caught, they thought.

But he immediately noticed its eight- to 10-foot-long neck and the fact that it didn’t have a blowhole like a whale.

It was “smooth as glass,” with pretty green and blue skin, he says.

“If it was a whale or anything like that he would have had old barnacles and scratches on it and stuff like that, but this was perfectly clean just like he come from a washer,” he says, explaining that leads him to believe it was probably living near or in fresh water.

He didn’t have a camera with him and had to leave to go to a doctor’s appointment, Marsh says, explaining he’d hoped to go back for the carcass, but when he did it had sunk.

“I could have made a fortune on it,” he says. “It’s amazing I’m telling you.”

Jack Lawson, a marine mammals research scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, says he wishes Marsh had of taken a tissue sample of the animal so testing could have been done.

He read the letter Marsh sent to The Telegram and says he’s never heard of anything with that combination of traits.

“Obviously, if he saw something, it would have been great if he could have cut a piece off it or kept it. That’s the frustrating part for me. I would have loved to have seen what it was,” Lawson says. “I love mysteries.

“If it were a new species it would be really exciting for something that large to have never been seen before.”

Although he’d love to have proof of a new sea monster, Lawson says it’s possible what Marsh saw was any one of number of things that are already known to be in the Atlantic Ocean. …

via The Telegram – St. John’s, NL: Local News | Newfoundland fishermen snag sea monster in nets.

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