Department of Conservation service manager David Agnew said in his 20 years with DoC, he had never seen anything like the 3 metre specimen.
Director of the Otago University marine studies programme Sally Carson said the oarfish was one of the world’s most bizarre and rare fish.
She said the oarfish hangs vertically in deep water and is known to self-amputate by biting off its own tail.
“Why it would do that I have no idea,” she said.
Oarfish are the world’s largest species of bony fish, and can grow up to 11 metres long (although some species of cartilaginous fish, such as the whale shark, grow longer)
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Previous coverage of oarfish sightings: