Henry Liebman poses with his rockfish. (AP Photo/Daily Sitka Sentinel, James Poulson)
UNDATED (USAToday.com) - Last week, we told you about a very strange-looking fish that was estimated to be nearly 200 years old. The lucky catch, a shortraker rockfish, was reeled in by Henry Liebman during an Alaskan fishing trip with charter company Angling Unlimited. After posing for some photos, the rockfish was sent to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to be officially aged.
Remember this friendly fish?
As it turns out, the fish isn't 200 years old at all. It's not even close. According to Angling Unlimited, Liebman's catch clocked in at a sprightly 64 years old.
While the fish's purported age caused great excitement upon its discovery, the age had not been officially confirmed until now. And in fact, one marine biologist had a sinking feeling from the beginning. From Angling Unlimited:
"It's impossible to age a rockfish once it has matured just by looking at it," said Kristen Green, groundfish project leader for the Southeast Region of Alaska. "The [ear bones] are the only way to accurately determine its age."
The oldest aged rockfish, a rougheye, was 205 years old and measured 32 inches. Liebman's fish measured 41 inches, which encouraged unsubstantiated claims of a 200 year old fish. Green was hesitant to jump on the 200 year old bandwagon because of her knowledge of rockfish biology."
So while it wasn't completely unreasonable to tout Liebman's fish as possibly having lived through the Civil War, it was a bit of a long shot. The fish was actually born in 1949 - just after the end of World War II.
This is disappointing news, but it's not a total wash. The fish is still a record-breaker: Its weight of 39.08 pounds smashed the previous benchmark of 38.68 pounds.