Wed, Aug 14, 2019 - Page 14 News List

Taoyuan fisherman nets rare ‘golden bighead carp’

After a magnitude 6.0 earthquake shook the nation on Thursday, fisherman Chang Wen-tien went out fishing on Shihmen Reservoir in Taoyuan. He unexpectedly netted a “golden bighead carp” measuring 75cm from head to tail and weighing 6kg. Chang, over the moon with his catch, says it is the first time he has seen such a large golden-colored fish in all of his 30 years fishing at the reservoir. He believed it had been frightened by the earthquake.

The silver carp is a freshwater fish. As their head is proportionately large compared to the body, they are commonly known as “bighead carp” in Taiwan. Silver carp, a common sight at the reservoir, are also known as the “garbage collectors” as they hoover up algae and plankton as food. Due to their rapid rate of growth, silver carp are also known colloquially as “Big Mac.” Most are a mottled black color.

Chang says this particular bighead carp is not especially large but its golden color is quite unique. Chang consulted a fish specialist who said its special color was probably caused by albinism. The colorful carp caused a sensation with fellow fishermen and tourists who crowded round for selfies, giving Chang his 15 minutes of fame. Several days later, Chang is still floating on cloud nine.

“Elders believe catching a rare fish is a good omen,” says Chang. He speculates that the golden bighead carp, frightened by the earthquake, surfaced from the bottom of the reservoir to a shallower depth and then swam straight into his fixed net.

Chang says that because the carp sustained multiple injuries while being caught, it would only have been able to survive two or three days in a fish tank, so he brought the fish home on the same day it was caught and cooked it for supper. Chang says its flesh was firm but tender and suitable for battering and deep frying or, alternatively, braising in soy sauce. Chang recommends the live fish restaurants within the Shihmen Reservoir for their delicious food.

(Translated by Edward Jones)







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