The world’s oldest (authenticated) eel has died in Sweden at age 155, (clearly not enough folks EAT eel). I guess not all hail from ‘Ely’ in Cambridgeshire (as my ancestors did), a famed seat of ‘eel-lore’. We encountered some very friendly eels at Paronella Park in Qld recently. After the disastrous Alpine fires (in 2006) I was anxious to canoe the Macalister to assess the damage (and wished that I had not – the pervasive smell of death was overbearing); vast numbers of deer and wallabies lay dead everywhere; every fish was dead; there were dead eels on the river banks thicker than my robustly stout legs and long as I am tall (see photo). It may be that they had not experienced such an event in a century of living placidly there. Their existence does give me qualms about swimming in mountain rivers, I must say (at least ‘skinny-dipping’!) Some say though that they were killed by some chemical fire retardant which was sprayed on this particular fire, which may be so, as even trout survived very well the (2007) fire along the Moroka which burned right to the water’s edge in VERY hot weather. It is a fine river for trout fishing though requiring some walking. The Moroka Creek Track off Doolan’s Plain gives good access.

Paronella Park 'tame' eels 2014.
Paronella Park ‘tame’ eels 2014.
Fire killed giant eel Macalister R autumn 2006
Fire killed giant eel Macalister River Autumn 2006

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