Potential Channel Island record sized megrim caught on 15 April 2011

April 17th, 2011 by Richard Lord

Mick Le Sauvage, drifting off the western edge of Godine bank to the south of Sark on 15 April 2011, landed the largest recorded recreationally-caught megrim, Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis, in Channel Island waters.

megrim, Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis, landed by Mick Le Sauvage on Godine bank south of Sark on 15 April 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

His megrim was caught at 1 pm at 49° 22.35 north and 2° 25.2 west using a smooth or red sandeel, Gymnammodytes semisquamatus, for bait.

The fish had a total length of 50.4 cm and a standard length of 40.0 cm.

The megrim is a left-eyed flatfish related to the turbot and brill but it is more elongated.  It does not possess the thickness of muscle of a turbot or a brill.

The pelvic fins of the megrim are not attached to the anal fin as they are with the topknot, Zeugopterus punctatus.

The left eyed-side of the megrim has ctenoid scales and the right blind side has cycloid scales.

The left-eye of the megrim is slightly anterior to the right-eye which has migrated from the right side of the body during larvae development (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Mr. Le Sauvage bled the fish and gutted it to maintain the quality of the meat.  On returning to St. Peter Port harbour in Guernsey he was informed that his megrim was potentially a Channel Island record-sized fish.  The gutted fish weighed 1 lb. 11 oz and 4 drams on the officially sanctioned angling club scales and 767 grams on a digital scale.  The UK angling record appears to be 1715 grams.

The previous Channel Islands record-sized megrim was captured on Great Bank in the Little Russel between Guernsey and Herm by Andrew Nigel Savident on 10 July 1991.  Mr. Savident’s megrim weighed 655 grams.

Len Le Page who has maintained angling records in Guernsey since 1966 only knows of these two megrim being caught in Bailiwick of Guernsey waters.

However the megrim is not a rare fish.  It is a commercially harvested species sold in UK and Spanish markets.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations these two countries have the largest megrim catches.

On the 25 August 1996 a UK-based beam trawler arrived in St Peter Port harbour for repairs.  The trawler’s hold had many boxes of megrim which had been fished in deeper water in the western approaches to the English Channel.

A copepod parasite attached to the skin of the eyed-side of the megrim. Ctenoid scales are clearly visible (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Dr. Zbigniew Kabata‘s book ‘Copepods Parasitic on Fishes‘ published by The Linnean Society of London lists two copepod parasites associated with megrim, Caligus diaphanus and Acanthochondria cornuta.  The harmless copepod skin parasite found on Mr. Le Sauvage’s megrim is neither one.

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Thank you to Joe Gomez for informing me about the megrim and to Seafresh for supplying me the fish.

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