Courtesy Captain Mark Quartiano/ABC News
Miami Beach, Fla. -- A Florida fisherman who hooked an 800-pound deep sea beast in the waters off Miami Beach says the mysterious fish was like “a dinosaur.”
Captain Mark Quartiano, a charter boat operator who also goes by “Mark the Shark,” is seen grinning next to his fearsome catch in an Instagram photo he posted over the weekend.
“I’ve caught one like it before, but never that size, not in the last 30 years I’ve been doing this,” Quartiano told ABC News. “It’s a very rare fish. It’s like a big gigantic whipping stingray. It’s a dinosaur.”
The monster is better known as a Dactylobatus clarkii, a deep sea species also referred to as “hookskate” or “fingerskate.” It inhabits muddy sea depths of up to 1,000 feet.
This one measures in at around 14 feet, including the tail, and was caught in waters of about 500 feet deep, Quartiano said.
“It was very old. It had barnacles all over it,” said Quartiano, who caught the skate while shooting a series of TV shows for a Japanese network.
Quartiano said he released the fish back into the ocean shortly after tagging it, as he had no other use for it.
“Stingrays are usually pretty good to eat, but this one as table fare? I don’t know how that would work out,” he said.
It’s been a good season for sea monster discoveries. Earlier in October, a serpent-like oarfish surfaced in southern California. Marine biologists called it the “catch of a lifetime.” They were stunned when just days later, a second carcass belonging to the rarely seen deep sea dweller washed ashore.