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News article created on 7 September 2016

Rare eel discovered on Birmingham Canal

A rare 5lb 10oz eel thought to be more than 20 years old has been found living in the canal near West Bromwich, Birmingham.

Big eel rescued

The eel was discovered by the Trust, after nearly 200lbs of fish were rescued from the waterway after a pollution incident along the Ridgacre Branch Canal.

John Ellis, national fisheries and angling manager at the Trust, said: "Finding an eel this size is pretty amazing as it's not something you see every day. I’m delighted we’ve had a chance to admire this wonderful creature.

"Eels are such a fascinating animal, they start life as a little egg in the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda and make an epic 4,000 mile journey across the Atlantic Ocean to end up in canals and rivers across Europe and North Africa.  Once they enter in the canal they will spend their life growing and maturing before returning to the Sargasso Sea to breed."

Eels are protected by law and are capable of surviving for periods of time out of water and, according the legend, are capable of crossing land and damp meadows in their search for water systems. Once eels have left the rivers to return to the sea to spawn, they stop feeding, and so have to rely on stored energy alone.

John continues: "We have safely put the eel back in a nearby canal so it can continue exploring our wonderful waterways. And if you’re really lucky you might just catch a glimpse of it swimming somewhere near you!"

To find out more about eels, please visit our eel pages