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All may not be quite as it seems with the infamous 'Monster of the Mere' in Diss

PUBLISHED: 11:23 31 July 2015

James Williams with the 100lb catfish caught in Diss Mere. The fish is still lurking in the Mere, having been released by its captor.

James Williams with the 100lb catfish caught in Diss Mere. The fish is still lurking in the Mere, having been released by its captor.

Archant

After reports the mythical 'Monster of the Mere' had at last been caught and photographed, speculation has arisen about how long the 100lb beast has been in Diss Mere.

Diss MereDiss Mere

The whopping catfish, caught by a lone fisherman at 6am on Tuesday, July 21 took over an hour to land and measured 6ft in length.

Now, members of Diss and District Angling Club have reacted to rumours that the catfish is not the long-standing mythical monster but one of two that have been illegally placed in the Mere.

Catfish, which are classed as an invasive non-native species, can be detrimental to native fish such as carp, which are said to be thriving in the Mere.

Bill Davies, vice chairman of the club, said: “We believe at least two catfish have been illegally stocked in the Mere over the last two months.

“The rumours we have heard say there are up to four in there, but nobody is totally sure.

“Somebody claimed they had a three-pounder out of the Mere about four years ago. We thought that catfish has come through but we now think someone has illegally stocked them from a pond to get rid of them.”

In the UK a licence must be held to introduce non-native fish into inland waters and permission must be gained to move fish from or to an inland water.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Invasive and non-native species, such as catfish, pose a serious threat to our native wildlife and can have harmful effects on fisheries and angling.

“At Diss Mere, we are talking to the angling club and the council about future management of the Mere following the recent discovery of a 100lb catfish.”

The club has enlisted the help of specialist catfish anglers to remove the nocturnal fish before they go into hibernation in September.

Mr Davies said: “We have got some people coming down this weekend to fish for them on Friday night and Saturday night.

“Catfish feed better at night so they will fish overnight until they get the two we know of.”

The club is concerned that the catfish will effect cruising carp levels in the Mere which they say is fishing better than it has done for many years.

When captured the giant catfish will be taken to a nearby lake which has a licence to move and keep them.

If non-native fish are discovered in fisheries or rivers people are advised to call the Environment Agency on 0800 807060.

Have you seen or caught a non-native fish? Email kate.royall@archant.co.uk

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