August 2, 2012
A shoal of record-breaking sea bass has gone on display at the Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire Oaks.
The 11 fish, some of which are thought to weigh in excess of 15 kilogrammes, are close to double the UK record for shore-caught bass.
The largest specimen is a real giant of the deep, measuring more than 80 cms in length, The current British shore-caught bass record is held by Isle of Wight angler Steve Caves at a weight of 19lb 11oz (8.93kgs).
The shoal have lived in captivity for virtually their entire lives and are therefore significantly larger than wild UK fish.
Blue Planet Aquarium’s temperate marine aquarist, Joe Chapman, said: “These fish have been provided with optimum growth conditions and have benefited from a regular and plentiful food supply throughout their lives without the threat of predators, or fishermen!
“As a result they are significantly bigger and heavier than wild bass found in the UK waters. However across southern Europe they grow much larger.
“The shoal is now on display in our 40,000-litre open-top ray display in the aquarium’s native marine area.
“Visitors are surprised that UK waters are home to such impressive-looking fish and seeing such large fish all shoaling together is quite a sight,” he added.
British waters are at the northern edge of the bass’ range, and its growth rate here is slower than in warmer, Mediterranean waters.
It has been estimated that more than 250,000 anglers fish for bass in the UK and concerns over overfishing have resulted in minimum legal size limits being introduced.