Talk about seasoned fish. A Bight redfish caught last year off western Australia was recently proved to have lived 84 years.
When this fish was born, Herbert Hoover was President, the nation was entering the Great Depression, and television was still a novelty. In 2013, at 84 years old, she was finally hauled from the sea, having seen more history at that point than most people ever will.
This aquatic octogenarian was found by commercial fishermen on Australia’s South Coast. The fish was then donated to a research project to measure the health of local fish populations. Scientists measured the age of more than 18,000 specimens during the course of the project.
The age of a fish is determined through its otolith, or ear bone. Scientists remove the otolith and cut off a cross section to be examined under a microscope. Similar to a tree stump, scientists can then measure growth rings in the bone to determine age.
Scientists on the project said finding older fish indicates the population is healthy. This data is used to determine if fishing regulations are necessary to maintain plentiful stocks.
The fish isn’t even the oldest ever discovered, that honor belonging to a koi that lived to be 226. Orange roughy can also live more than 150 years. Scientists are constantly studying and reevaluating animal lifespans, having discovered in recent years bowhead whales over 200 years old, and a mollusk that was 507.
Researchers say the old redfish surely spawned repeatedly during her lifetime, passing on her strong genes to offspring. If they’re as enduring as their mother, those fish could even grow to outlive you.