They can range in size from a few centimetres to several metres long. Dean Stoltz looks into these creatures called Pyrosomes B.C. fisherman are discovering.
From beaches along the Oregon coast to the waters of Alaska and right here in British Columbia, strange “creatures” have been showing up by the millions.
“Just thought it was another form of sea life I hadn’t encountered yet,” fisherman Angus Grout said.
“I hadn’t seen it before.”
He was commercial fishing between Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii this spring when he first encountered the Pyrosomes and didn’t know what to make of them.
“Like a big long pickle with dots on the outside,” Grout said while describing the creatures.
They are translucent and tube-like and can range in size from just a few centimetres to over 10 metres long.
Pyrosomes are more common in tropical waters like the Mediterranean or the Caribbean.
One theory being discussed by scientists is that the huge blob of warm water off the west coast in 2014 and 2015 began bringing them to the B.C. coast.
The mystery now is that even when the ocean cooled back to normal temperatures the pyrosomes began to multiply in numbers never seen before.
“They kind of feel like soft rubber,” Grout added.
“They were just coming up on the rope as we hauled back.”
They have been found in the stomachs of some fish but scientists aren’t sure whether it’s becoming a regular part of their diet.