Advertisement

Catfish eaten before being verified can’t qualify for record

Ben Tomkunas holds a catfish he caught in Coventry, Conn., on Aug. 21, 2021, that was thought...
Ben Tomkunas holds a catfish he caught in Coventry, Conn., on Aug. 21, 2021, that was thought to have smashed a state record. But uncertainty about the species of the catfish, which was eaten before it could be vetted by authorities, has led a Connecticut agency to withdraw its awarding of a new state record for largest white catfish.(Photo by Chris Braga via AP)
Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 9:22 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COVENTRY, Conn. (AP) — Uncertainty about the species of a massive catfish that was eaten before it could be vetted by authorities in August has led Connecticut to withdraw its awarding of a new state record.

Connecticut Fish and Wildlife wrote in a Facebook post on Monday that because it was not able to examine the actual fish, authorities cannot confirm it was a white catfish.

“Without the ability to examine the actual fish, identification is left to still images and videos, which have proven to be ambiguous and inconclusive to definitively identify the species of catfish in this case,” state Fish and Wildlife wrote, adding that it is not disputing the weight of the catch that was made on Aug. 21.

Ben Tomkunas, 25, of Coventry, who caught the 21.3-pound fish, said he gave it to his grandfather the morning after he caught it and it was eaten.

“I can’t believe that they think it’s OK to do this to someone,” Tomkunas told the Journal Inquirer. “It’s such an embarrassment.”

It can be difficult to distinguish between white catfish and channel catfish, which are generally larger.

The previous state record for a white catfish was a 12.7-pound fish. The International Game Fish Association has recorded the world record for a white catfish catch to be 19.3 pounds for a fish caught in 2005 in California.

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesperson Will Healey urged anglers to keep any potentially record-breaking fish until authorities have confirmed its species. He acknowledged, in an email to the Journal Inquirer, that the initial announcement of a new state record was premature.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.