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Fish #46 European Conger Conger conger ~ Carey Jones
Acrylic on canvas 20 x 20 cm
Found in the English Channel, North Sea, Irish Sea, French Coast and Mediterranean.
Conger Eels are not to be messed with! A massive conger eel was caught in 2015 off the British coast - it was taller than a double-decker bus and weighed a whopping 59kg. This is disconcerting enough but add to this the fact that they are predators that will attack humans and they start to become the stuff of nightmares. For instance, in July 2013, a diver was attacked by a conger eel off Ireland at a depth of 25 metres (82 ft). The eel bit a large chunk from his face and the diver reported that the creature was more than 6 feet (1.8 m) in length and "about the width of a human thigh". Blimey!
Despite the above we still persist in fishing for them and have been since the 12th Century - the Norman taxation Pipe Roll recorded two 'éperquerie' in the Channel Islands which were designated places where conger eels were dried. Another claim to fame for the Conger is that it is one of the few fish that can swim backwards and is famous (or infamous) for living in ship-wrecks or eel pits which they often share with Moray Eels, as in this painting, from which they dart out and ambush smaller species such as fish, cuttlefish and squid.
Until recently it was thought that the Conger headed to the Sargasso Sea to breed but this is now in doubt with the view that they may actually only breed once, possibly in the very deep water off the UK coast, but it still remains somewhat of a mystery.
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