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Henry Liebman Catches Giant Fish That May Be 200 Years Old

Henry Liebman

First Posted: 07/02/13 EDT Updated: 07/04/13 EDT

If you believe in yourself, any fin is possible.

A Seattle insurance adjustor caught a record-setting rockfish last month that may be more than two centuries old, the Daily Sitka Sentinel reported.

Liebman caught the 39.08-pound critter in late June while fishing in Sitka, Alaska, breaking the record for largest shortraker caught on sport fishing gear.

giant rockfish

The previous record-holding fish weighed 38.69 pounds and was 175 years old, according to Troy Tydingco of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Since Liebman's catch is even bigger, Tydingco believes it's older, too.

"That fish was 32-and-a-half inches long, where Henry's was almost 41 inches, so his could be substantially older," Tydingo told the Sentinel.

Biologists are in the process of determining the fish's actual age. If Tydingco is correct, that means the fish was around before Alaska was purchased by the U.S. in 1867.

Not everyone is excited about the catch. The New York Daily News reports that some Twitter users are reeling with anger about the animal's death.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, though, catching and releasing the fish may not have been the best solution.

The ADFG website states, "Rockfish caught in deep water often sustain injuries" caused by the decompression that occurs when fish are brought quickly to the surface.

Liebman pulled up his catch from a depth of 900 feet, and the ADFG notes that "because of high release mortality, intentional catch-and-release fishing is greatly discouraged, particularly in depths of 60 feet or greater."

Liebman's 40-pound haul is far from the largest fish ever caught. The world-record holding fisherman, according to the Daily Mail, is Ken Fraser, who managed to nab a 1,496-pound bluefin tuna in 1979.

UPDATE: This story has been updated with information from the Alaska Department of Fish and Wildlife.