Angling experts were astounded yesterday by a fisherman who caught a swordfish off the coast of North East England - thousands of miles from its normal habitat.
The Mediterranean sixfooter was thrashing about angrily when Peter Dent spotted it caught in his salmon net on Monday, as he fished less than a mile off the coast of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland.
He brought the fish into Blyth, Northumberland, where it was stored on ice before being sold to a local restaurant.
Trader Mark Watson, of Blyth Fish, said: "I have never seen anything like it here, and everyone else has said the same.
"It's the kind of thing you see in Spain, but not here."
The 58lb beast amazed fishing commentator Sam Harris, aged 73, who said it was the first time he had heard of a swordfish being caught in chilly British waters.
He said: "This fish is two or three thousand miles off course. It just proves how the water temperature is hotting up.
"Apparently the skipper tried to release it, but unfortunately, with its damn great beak, it was lashing around ripping the net to shreds, so he had to kill it with a hammer."
Mr Harris, an angling writer and broadcaster, raced from his home in Peterlee, Co Durham, to see it with his own eyes.
"I couldn't believe it when someone told me, I thought it was a joke," he said.
"It is absolutely amazing, it shouldn't be up here.
"But it doesn't look diseased and is in 100 per cent good condition, probably from feeding on the huge shoals of mackerel here.
"They are found in the North Atlantic, the Pacific, the Mediterranean, but certainly not in the North Sea.
"I have never heard of one taken on our coastline and I don't remember hearing of one taken anywhere around the British Isles." Mr Harris said divers had told him that the North Sea temperature had risen greatly in recent years.