Thursday 23 May 2019

Royal fish returns after 46 years at sea

The royal sturgeon has returned to Dingle, Co Kerry, after an absence of almost 46 years. Specimens of the fish --which at 400 million years old is considered the oldest species -- have just landed at Oceanworld Aquarium from Russia, where they will go on permanent display.

The last time a sturgeon showed up in the harbour was on April 2, 1966 and because of a decree by King Edward II dating back to 1445 that it be given to the king, queen or head of state, it was presented to President Eamon de Valera.

Its sale realised £400, which De Valera donated to the Poor Clare nuns in Kenmare.

The fish was the second to show up in the harbour that day after the first one literally got away. Local fisherman, John Francis Brosnan was only 19 on that fateful day when he incurred the wrath of skipper of 'The Morning Star', Joe Walsh.

"It was lying on the deck and we had been keeping it alive all day. There was a crowd on the pier and a film crew had just arrived," Mr Brosnan recalled.

When someone shouted "throw it out", meaning throw the fish on the pier, Mr Brosnan misunderstood and threw it overboard.

"I looked up and immediately I knew I had done something wrong. They were all just gaping at me with their mouths open," he said.

A search of the harbour ensued that lasted all day. By some miracle another fish -- or perhaps the same one -- was landed by John Brosnan, skipper of 'The Ard Ide'.

But the actions of the young fisherman had forever done Skipper Walsh out of his "bragging rights".

The fish can live for up to 100 years and achieves a weight of 200lbs when fully mature.

Sunday Independent

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