RUSSIAN anglers have been scrambling for their rods after a fishing blog released a report on giant mutant catfish growing in the waters flowing through the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
In order to convince people of the local fishermen’s claims, the blog that has now been quoted on other Russian media even included a picture of one catfish which locals are calling Borka, and which they claim is over two metres long.
Access is limited to the exclusion zone around Chernobyl because of the risk of radiation poisoning and all fishing for food purposes in local waters has stopped.
“I have heard a lot of stories about bodies being washed from local cemeteries being eaten by the catfish – but as far as I’m concerned it’s just nonsense”
Kondrat Yudin, fisherman
Now there is renewed interest from sporting fishermen keen to land the catch of their life after it was alleged in blog that giant fish were being caught in the Pripyat River.
Prypiat was a city in Ukraine which was closed after the nuclear disaster in 1986 and the Prypiat River which runs over 473 miles and flows through the exclusion zone, also flows through parts of the Ukraine and Belarus that are not in the exclusion zone.
According to fishermen brave enough to risk the fact that it has been confirmed the river is polluted with radionuclides, there are reportedly giant fish to be had.
Local fisherman Kondrat Yudin, 38, said: “I have heard a lot of stories about bodies being washed from local cemeteries that were of course no longer maintained after everyone left, and the bodies that were floating free ending up being eaten by the catfish – but as far as I’m concerned it’s just nonsense.
“I suppose radiation could play a role but I reckon radiation is more likely to give them extra eyeballs and two heads rather than simply making them enormous in size.
“I think the reason is a lot more simple, the bottom line is that nobody is fishing these waters – and that has meant with no natural predator, the catfish has been able to grow to an enormous size. For years they haven’t had a problem with fishermen and they are just there for the taking.”
According to the website local scientists have confirmed the increase in the size of the catfish, and tests are reportedly being carried out to see if they might have excessive radiation levels which in turn could be responsible for their large size.
Chernobyl was evacuated in 1986 owing to the Chernobyl disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the worst nuclear power plant accident in history in terms of cost and resulting deaths.
The incident is one of only two classified as a level 7 event, the maximum classification on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other incident being the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.