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A 'Fishy Tale' … But True!
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A restaurant owner has purchased a rare, giant fish weighing 180 kilograms for 18,000 yuan in Qingdao, a coastal city of Shandong Province.

It took four fishermen twelve hours to land the big fish on the night of November 16, said the owner of Fuqian Restaurant surnamed Sun. Citizens were invited to share dishes made from the fish, said the restaurant owner.

"The fish dragged our boat far away from the shore. We were not able to pull it up to the deck until it was tired out," said one of the four fishermen, Che, who was still excited.

Che and three fellow fishermen sailed out on a small boat to the East China Sea around 3 PM on November 16. They had just reached Kaolao Island when they felt something tugging down the net at the back of the boat. An experienced fisherman immediately loosened the net to keep the boat steady.

Realizing it might be a very heavy fish, the crew spared no time in pulling it up. As the fierce match of push-and-pull became a draw, the crew stopped the boat and tried to figure out an effective method of landing the creature. However, taking advantage of this, the fish struggled and the waves almost overturned the boat with one fisherman tumbling into the sea.

"The mighty fish was powerful in the water. The more we tightened the net, the harder it struggled. Our boat was dragged out far away," said Che. After rescuing their crewmate they even thought of giving up for fear of being dragged into unknown peril. But curiosity conquered their fear. They decided to fight on.

The crew kept tightening the net from time to time while steering the boat to follow the fish. In this way, until 3 AM November 17, the four strong fishermen managed to pull up the exhausted fish after 12 hours. It then took hours to get to shore and another 10 fishermen to get the fish to market. "We hoped the fish would be sold at a nice price. We risked our lives to catch it," said Che.

A price of 18,000 yuan was agreed. A restaurant owner bought this yellowish carp-like fish with the ping pong ball sized eyes and palm-sized scales. The owner told a local newspaper that he was going to cut the fish into small pieces and invite citizens to his restaurant to have a taste. The news attracted hundreds of people to enjoy soup made from the fish.

The local fishery department identified the fish as a type of cod which had never been caught in the sea area east of the city. This was the first time such a huge cod had headed into a net.

Ai Qinghui, a professor from Ocean University of China, confirmed the fish was found in the deep sea around the Yellow Sea and the Bohai Sea but rarely appeared in coastal waters. Asked why the fish was in such a location Ai suggested it could have been seeking food or driven inshore by contaminated environment.

(China.org.cn by Huang Shan, November 25, 2006)

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