Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"the growth of the British angling industry has been shadowed by a booming market in stolen carp"

Carp-fishing in England:

There currently remain, however, only a handful of known sixtypounders in England. The largest of these lives in Cranwells, a twenty-acre lake on the Wasing Estate, about an hour from London’s Piccadilly Circus. To taxonomists, he’s known as a mirror carp, after the broad and lavish scales flung across his back, but to the legions of anglers who hope for an opportunity to hunt this white whale among freshwater leviathans, he’s known as the Parrot.

...


Brian Humphries, who runs a windshield-replacement business in Gloucestershire, stalked the Parrot for four years before catching him. He’s lifted the fish out of the water three times now

...

Cranwells — home to several fifty-pounders in addition to the Parrot — is the most exclusive and prestigious of Wasing’s eight fishing lakes. Only sixty permits are made available each year, and they cost $1,000 each. A person who secures a permit is allowed to renew the membership annually for life, which means that aspiring members must wait for existing permit holders to depart, decease, or fall into disgrace.

Applications for the two or three permits that become available each year for Cranwells are heavily vetted. Since their assets are freely swimming in the water, the fishery’s owners want to ensure that members are trustworthy and competent enough to deal with a fish like the Parrot.

...

the Parrot is protected precisely because of his fame. “This fish is so well known among anglers that it would be like stealing the Mona Lisa. It may be priceless, but it would be almost impossible to sell on.” What’s more, there remains the difficulty of catching the elusive monster in the first place. Though some consider him a mug fish, the term given to a carp that is landed too often and considered reckless or slow to learn, the Parrot was caught only six times in the past two years.