DILLON, CO—Marine biologists are questioning everything they know about the natural habitat of the ocean-dwelling Albacore tuna after a paddle-boarder discovered a tuna carcass washed up on the shores of Dillon Reservoir.
According to the paddle-boarder, the tuna carcass hadn’t started smelling yet and seemed fit for human consumption.
“It seemed wrong to let a perfectly good slab of tuna go to waste,” he said. “I decided to take it home to sear whole on the grill.”
When the man arrived home, his wife, a self-proclaimed “fish nerd,” was stunned at the sight of her husband rubbing down that particular fish with olive oil and herbs. “I knew something was up the instant I saw that fish on our cutting board,” she said. “I recognized its streamlined body, pectoral fins, and shimmery scales as those of an Albacore tuna. That species only lives in the ocean.”
After telling her husband they should freeze the tuna, which was beginning to smell, she called Colorado Fish and Wildlife to report the discovery. Hours later, a Fish and Wildlife officer arrived at the couple’s home with a soft-sided cooler. The officer packed the tuna inside the cooler to transport to the marine biology department of a major Colorado university. There, marine biologists are studying the tuna carcass for clues as to how this exclusively ocean-swimming species ended up in Dillon Reservoir.
“Truth is, we’re stumped,” said a junior member of the marine biology department. “Our working theory is this species of tuna has been swimming in our mountain rivers all along, evading capture through biological evolutions we have yet to understand.”
Another member of the department offered an alternative explanation. “We haven’t ruled out the possibility this particular tuna, when young, hitched a ride in a child’s fish tank. When the tuna grew too big for the tank, the parents recklessly dumped the fish in the reservoir rather than eating it.”
Whatever the explanation may be, one thing is certain: marine biologists have a great deal of research ahead of them.
As for the paddle-boarder and his wife, they’ve agreed the next time a dead fish washes up at Dillon Reservoir, they’ll leave it on the shore to decay in peace.