Catfish Catch Eaten Before Verification Can't Qualify For World Record

By Jason Hall

September 30, 2021

Photo: Connecticut Fish and Wildlife

A wouldbe world record-setting catfish caught in Connecticut was eaten before it could be verified.

Connecticut Fish and Wildlife confirmed it was unable to examine the actual fish, reported to be a 21.3-pound white catfish, withdrawing the catch from being awarded as the new state record for its kind, the government organization confirmed on its Facebook account Monday (September 27).

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental initially called declaration of a new state record after the fish was caught in Conventry Lake on August 20, but later recalled its declaration after questions were raised.

"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. To maintain the integrity of the state record dataset, we are reversing the initial announcement that this 21.3 pound fish was the new state record White Catfish."

Due to questions raised both internally at DEEP and by outside sources, DEEP is recalling its initial declaration of a...

Posted by Connecticut Fish and Wildlife on Monday, September 27, 2021

Ben Tomkunas, 25, of Coventry, caught the fish and told WRAL that he gave it to his grandfather the next morning before it was eaten too soon before verification.

“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.”

White catfish can often be mistaken for channel catfish, which are generally larger, leading to controversy over whether the prized catch was actually a white catfish.

The previous Connecticut record for white catfish was 12.7 pounds, while the world record for the species is a 19.3-pound fish caught in 2005 in California, WRAL reports.

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