Of all bony fish, the oarfish, Regalecus glesne, is the longest. It is suggested that oarfish can reach up to 15 meters (49 feet) in length but actual recorded lengths put them at still impressive 8 meters (26 feet). Oarfish will often was ashore or caught by fishermen. Yet, much like the giant squid, observations of oarfish alive in the wild are rare and video of them alive in the wild are even rarer.
The SERPENT project (Scientific and Environmental ROV Partnership using Existing iNdustrial Technology) is a fruitful collaboration between marine researchers and the oil and gas industry. It provides scientific researchers access to industrial data and ROV resources at many locations. Both DELOS and SERPENT are resulting in advancements that would not otherwise be possible. With this new access to resources, deep-sea researchers and industry have an extraordinary opportunity to lead the way towards the informed use of deep-ocean resources and of course providing LIVE VIDEO OF OARFISH! ERMERGHERD! (or OARMERGHERD)
In a recent paper (boo closed access), not just one but five observations from ROV video are reported. The supplemental material, which I believe anyone can access, includes all five awesome videos. The best I have at the top (make sure you watch or continue to wach past the 5 minute mark). All the observations were from the Northern Gulf of Mexico and all of healthy fish. The depths of the observation range from 38.7 meters to 492.7 meters (127 -1616 feet). The authors suggest as well that “The absence of an immediate flight response by these individuals to the ROVsupports [the] hypothesis that R. glesne has few natural predators.”
UPDATE: I reported incorrectly this was the first video. The five videos were taken on 1/17/2008, 1/26/2008, 7/10/2008, 2/16/2009, and 8/15/2011. One of these videos was uploaded to Youtube and reported by Discovery on 2/9/10. Below is an earlier video uploaded on 7/28/2006 taken by scuba divers. Other videos do exist showing “live” oarfish near beaches but these are likely injured or sick individuals. So the videos from the paper clearly do appear to be the first but clearly this is still a rare event and great footage of enigmatic giant.
M. C. Benfield, S. Cook, S. Sharuga and M. M. Valentine Five in situ observations of live oarfish Regalecus glesne (Regalecidae) by remotely operated vehicles in the oceanic waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico Journal of Fish Biology. Article first published online: 5 JUN 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/jfb.12144