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The Eel Story: Giant Fish Big, But Not That Big

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A conger eel said to be up to 21ft in length when it was caught off the coast of Devon was actually only about 6-7ft, officials at the port where it was sold have said.


The fish weighing 72.5kg (160lb) was hauled aboard the inshore trawler Hope by fishermen from Plymouth who tweeted pictures of their catch.

According to Plymouth Fisheries the eel is thought to be around 6-7ft (2m) long, though the fisherman who hauled it onboard said it could have been a few feet longer.

A spokeswoman for Plymouth Fisheries said: "Sadly it was never measured before it went to auction but the fisherman who caught it estimated it was 'about 10 feet in length'.

"Possibly the perspective of the hanging photograph does make it look longer - it looks shorter in other photos and eels stretch out when hung."

The eel is thought to be 6-7ft in length and possibly as much as 10ft

Pete Bromley, Manager of Plymouth Fisheries, said: "This conger eel is a very large fish, maybe 6-7 feet long, and an unusual catch for a trawler, with the current rod-caught record standing at 133lb, 4oz.

"Conger move to very deep water and die after spawning, so like all large congers caught off the South West approaches, this fish is likely to be an unspawned female.

"These large eels are generally found hiding in the many wrecks around the South West, or on reefs and rocky ground, but they do venture out to open ground in search of food, usually during neap tides or slack water.

"Despite their size and power, they are not very strong swimmers."

The eel was snapped up for £40 (70p per kg) when it was sold at auction.

Congers are among the largest types of eels and can reach up to 3m in length.

According to the British conger club the largest conger ever caught weighed 350lb and was found trapped in nets of Iceland's Westmann Islands.

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