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'Water monster' spotted in Taiwan's Sun Moon Lake could be speckled longfin eel

SUP instructor says he witnessed unknown large fish swimming up and down for about 1 minute

(Lai Yung-li photo)

(Lai Yung-li photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A “water monster” over 2 meters long spotted in Nantou County's Sun Moon Lake might be a speckled longfin eel, according to the Sun Moon Lake Fishery Association.

After stand up paddle (SUP) coach Lai Yung-li (賴永利) posted a video of a large fish he spotted in Sun Moon Lake on Facebook, netizens wrote that there have been recent reported sightings of a “water monster” in the lake.

Lai told CNA on Wednesday (Feb. 16) that while he was giving a group of paddleboarders a tour of the lake at around 6 a.m. on Feb. 9, he spotted a big fish swimming up toward the surface. He quickly paddled towards it, but it swam back down as he got close.

Lai said he witnessed it ascending and descending for about a minute, of which the video only shows a few seconds. He said that when the fish was closest to him, he could tell it was over half the length of his 3-m paddleboard and concluded it to be at least 2 m long.

Lai went on to say that he worked at Sun Moon Lake for a very long time but had never seen the fish before.

A Sun Moon Lake Fishery Association staffer told CNA that the creature in the video could be the speckled longfin eel, which originated from Australia. The species was released into the lake in an effort to reduce its population of giant snakeheads, which have multiplied rapidly there in recent years. Speckled longfin eels prey on juveniles of the predator.

'Water monster' spotted in Taiwan's Sun Moon Lake could be speckled longfin eel
Speckled longfin eel (Wikipedia photo)