The story of the conger eel at Plymouth Fisheries explained

A new photograph has emerged of the giant conger eel landed at Plymouth Fisheries yesterday (Thurs 14th May) which better conveys the length of the fish.

A picture of the 131lb  conger eel being hauled onto the quayside at the fisheries complex in Plymouth’s Sutton Harbour suggested it could be as long as 21ft. But Pete Bromley, Manager of Plymouth Fisheries, said the perspective in that photograph had been deceptive, and the eel was actually only about 7ft in length. A photograph taken by staff at the fisheries complex yesterday (attached here) offers a truer picture.

Pete Bromley, Manager of Plymouth Fisheries, said: “The perspective is out in the photograph of the conger being hauled onto the quay, making it look a lot longer than it actually was. This photo taken by our staff yesterday of the conger alongside another landed eel gives a better indication. The chap standing next to it is around 5ft 7inches tall, and we estimated the conger eel to be around 7ft in length. Our second photo showing it lying on a pallet also makes this clear, as this pallet is only 1m by 1.2m in size.

“This conger was still a very large fish, and unusual for our market. Conger does not have a great deal of commercial value today as prices have dropped, but this was an impressive fish, and a catch to make any angler’s day.”

The conger eel was caught up in the nets of the inshore trawler ‘Hope’ by accident, and already dead when it was brought on board. It weighed in at 59.5KG (131lb) gutted, and its total weight with guts would be about 155 to 160lbs. The current rod-caught record stands at 133lb 4oz.

The conger made about 70p per KG when it was sold at auction in Plymouth, earning a price of around £40.

Pete Bromley added: “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.”



Photo credits: Plymouth Fisheries