BY PATRICK BEJA
But as the 600kg Sunfish he donated to the National Museums of Kenya continues to attract onlookers and researchers, Rashid has become the focus for scientists who now say his prize catch could be a pointer to environmental changes facing the ocean.
A marine and education officer at the Fort Jesus National Museumâs of Kenya (NMK), Mr Hassan Mohamed Hassan said the Sunfish caught on the New Yearâs Eve off the Pemba Channel was an indicator that climate change was quickly catching up with Kenya.
He explained that the giant fish usually stays between 100 to 150 nautical miles from the shoreline but the one caught by Mombasa fishermen was found only 30 nautical miles away and attributed it to environmental upheaval.
"Climatic change is being experienced globally and we suspect there could have been a disturbance somewhere that forced the fish to move from their common habitat," he told The Standard yesterday.
Hassan believes Kenya is the first country in Africa to have caught such a big fish in recent times.
He said there was need for an urgent survey of the ocean to establish why the fish moved nearer to the shoreline.
Marine experts, he says, need to accompany the fishermen to the sea what was exactly happening in relation to fish population in the ocean.