As we near the end of a summer of weird catches including cobia and barracuda in New Jersey and king macks and a tarpon on Cape Cod, the recent find in a Rhode Island fish trap may top them all.
The Local Catch, Inc, reported a 70-pound cubera snapper turning up in a fish trap off the West Wall at Point Judith, Rhode Island.
This is the second cubera snapper caught in the Northeast in recent years. The first was a 25-pounder caught on Island Beach State Park in 2015. There was also a 43-pound cubera caught in the Cape Cod Canal several decades ago.
The cubera’s range is listed as Brazil to Massachusetts, though the fish is rare north of Florida.
Juvenile fish of a number of tropical species ride plumes of warm, Gulf Stream water into the Northeast every summer, but the cubera seems to be unique in that it’s the full-grown adults that wander this far north.
Atlantic cubera snapper are listed as vulnerable, due to overfishing at their spawning sites in the Caribbean. Spawning cubera congregate by the thousands over offshore reef sites and structure, making them easy targets for commercial fishing efforts.
The water is still very warm throughout the Northeast, and with a tropical storm potentially heading this way, we can only guess what “lost” southern species will turn up next.