From: Reuters
Published April 25, 2008 12:46 AM

Hong Kong anglers let cash bonanza get away

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Three Hong Kong anglers thought they had hit the big time when they sold their rare giant fish for HK$20,000 ($2,560) -- but they missed out on a HK$1 million bonanza, a newspaper reported on Friday.

The 85-kg Chinese Bahaba, also known as a giant yellow croaker, is believed to be the largest caught in Hong Kong in 10 years, Hong Kong's Apple Daily newspaper reported.

One of the anglers, a housewife called Mickey, was photographed lying beside the 1.68-metre (five-and-a-half-ft) fish after it had been hauled ashore, following a titanic 90-minute struggle.

The trio quickly sold the fish to a local fisherman for HK$20,000 thinking they'd hit the jackpot, but without realizing the croaker's true value, the paper reported.

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The fisherman subsequently sold the rare giant fish -- which is highly prized for its costly swim bladder or fish maw -- to a seafood restaurant for HK$580,000.

The speculation didn't stop there. The fish was resold to a mainland Chinese buyer for over HK$1 million ($126,000), the newspaper reported.

The giant yellow croaker has become critically endangered and few survive to maturity given overfishing.

(Reporting by James Pomfret; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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