Did the giant eyeball that became an Internet sensation after washing up on a South Florida beach come from Destin?
Newspapers and media outlets around the nation told the story and showed the photo of the mysterious eyeball that was found by a man on Pompano Beach last Wednesday. On Oct. 15, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) reported that the eyeball is likely from a swordfish. Genetic testing will be done to confirm that.
Despite the media quoting the FWC initially stating that the eye might have come from a large fish or giant squid, or even a whale, Destin’s Mic Parker said he knew all along it belonged to a swordfish.
“I thought it was funny, just seeing that only a few days prior we had played with one ourselves,” the boat captain said.
On Sept. 27, Mic was aboard the Jasper Time as second captain and deckhand, with Capt. Tommy Braden when a 370-pound swordfish was caught about 60 miles south of Destin. Mark Wallace from Peachtree City, Ga., reeled her in.
“They brought the swordfish in to weigh in at HarborWalk, took it back to the marina, and filleted it,” said Marguerite Parker, Mic’s mother.
Marguerite was back at the Destin docks, waiting with Mic’s daughter and her niece, when the Jasper Time brought the swordfish in.
That’s when Mic and the girls examined the fish’s eyeball, which Mic said weighed about 2 pounds.
“I cut out the eyeball to let them see it and play with it,” said Mic. “I guess some people are exited and intrigued when they see a large fish get cut up.”
After being passed around, the softball-sized eyeball ultimately found its way back in the water, begging the question was it the same eye? Could it have traveled the roughly 700 miles around the Florida peninsula to the East Coast in a little over two weeks?
While admitting that it did look very similar in size, Mic doesn’t think so.
“Not unless a pelican swooped it up in its mouth and went 500 miles and dropped it,” he said, joking. “It just happened to be a real strange coincidence.”
“I’d say there’s probably a one in a million chance that it could’ve been the same thing just because of the distance that it could’ve traveled,” he said.
But Mic’s mother, Marguerite, isn’t so sure.
“This is the funniest thing; this is the weirdest thing,” said Marguerite. “I didn’t think too much of it until about four days ago. It was all over the Internet …”
“And my niece was like that’s my eyeball!” she said, laughing. “I still think it could have been her eyeball.”
Parker took a photo of her niece, Taylor Joyner, and of Mic each holding the eye.
“I wish there was a way to prove that it was the same eyeball,” said Marguerite.
UPDATE: Joan Herrera, curator of collections at the FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, had the last word. When asked if the Destin swordfish eye could have been the same one discovered in Pompano Beach, she responded "absolutely not." She said the Pompano Beach one was "fresh and bloody." In the span of time it would take for the Destin eye to travel through the Loop Current, it would have been chewed up by fish and birds, she said. "It would have rotted out."