Carrot is a hybrid species of a leather carp and a koi carp and has been described by UK newspapers as one of the world’s largest goldfish, as photos of Hackett holding up his prize with both hands made headlines in UK newspaper Both the Mail and the BBC began referencing the 1975 shark thriller Jaws, with the Daily Mail headlined: “We need a bigger fishbowl!”
People have been dumping their pets in lakes, officials say. Now football-sized goldfish are taking the helm.
“I always knew The Carrot was in there, but I never thought I’d catch it,” Hackett told British media. “I knew it was a big fish when it took my bait and started pacing it back and forth and up and down.”
After Hackett posed for photos with his catch, she was released back into the water – much to the delight of those who have been reading about her on social media.
Like all carp species, the native goldfish, also known as Carassius auratus, can balloon to epic sizes, growing as large as its habitat and resources will allow.
Carrot, which last weighed 67.4 pounds, was placed in Bluewater Lakes, the French fishery, more than a decade ago and was described as “very elusive” by Jason Cowler, a fisheries manager there. She has been caught a number of times but only surpassed 60 pounds earlier this year, the fishery wrote.
Even before her recent fame, Carrot was something of a celebrity in the fishing world. Anglers from all over the world flock to the fish farm hoping to catch them or one of the other giant species found in the lakes. The venue, the owners say, is fully booked for the foreseeable future.
“Any carp angler who knows Bluewater knows The Carrot!” Avid fisherman and Briton Ian Allan, 49, told The Washington Post on Tuesday, adding that the golden fish is one he “would love to catch”. Allan said it’s notoriously difficult to get a booking for the venue, which has a strict catch-and-release policy and accommodates fish weighing up to 90 pounds.
“The fish are handled very carefully when caught because of their sheer size,” he said.
The Bluewater Lakes team have also emphasized on their official Facebook page that “extreme care is taken when all of our carp are caught”, adding that fish are treated after injuries and are never completely removed from the water. All photos are taken on a floating mat in case catches decide to flip, they said.
The fishery said Carrot was “in excellent health and condition” and about 20 years old, and predicted Carrot could live (and grow) another 15 years. “Long may her fame continue,” she added.
While giant goldfish often inspire interest and admiration, experts say they can also be a nuisance.
The Washington Post reported last summer that pet goldfish released into lakes could quickly grow in their new habitats, swelling to the size of soccer balls and wreaking havoc.
The species caused a stir in the United States last year when officials in Burnsville, a city about 15 miles south of Minneapolis, implored locals not to dump unwanted pets in local lakes, which they say are causing an infestation that is affecting water quality worsened .
Please do not release your goldfish in ponds and lakes! They grow larger than you think and contribute to poor water quality by stirring up bottom sediment and uprooting plants.
Groups of these large goldfish were recently found in Keller Lake. pic.twitter.com/Zmya2Ql1E2
— City of Burnsville (@BurnsvilleMN) July 9, 2021
The fish have been blamed for stirring up sediment, uprooting plants and exposing the wild fish population to new diseases.