• Destiny Carter

Footage from the River Ness may have solved mystery of the Loch Ness Monster

Video of a massive eel-shaped object was released on Twitter on September 1, 2019, by the Ness Fishery Board.

For more than a century, monster hunters and tourists have gone to the Northern Scottish lake to capture and prove the existence of the Loch Ness Monster that, according to many tales and rumors, has made a home there.

The video was filmed in the River Ness and appears to show a large, eel-like object moving across the camera lens.

The Tweet said, "Let's be honest - when you see a large, eel shaped object passing your camera in the River Ness, the first thing you think of is the Loch Ness Monster."

A group of New Zealand scientists obtained a list of all living organisms in the waters by identifying small remnants of genetics left behind by passing creatures. They collected about 250 water samples from the lake to study and concluded that the great Loch Ness Monster could possibly just be a large eel. Neil Gemmell, lead scientist on the project stated quite comically, "There is probably not a giant scaly reptile swimming around Loch Ness."

There are many fanatics who have shown great interest in the videos, but there are many who doubt the authenticity of the footage. Prof. Gemmell, as well as Twitter users, weighed in with friendly speculation. While the video could be genuine, most believe it is likely that the Ness Fishery Board could was "trolling" their audience.

Although the team found no evidence of sturgeon or catfish, plenty of eel DNA was discovered. The eel theory also raises reasonable questions, seeing as eels only grow to about five feet in length. The Ness Fisheries Board director, Chris Conroy, informed ABC News, "The footage is of a large 'eel shaped object' - it is actually likely to be a tree branch about three meters in length.” The object in the video must be much larger than four to five feet, as a trout in the foreground gives the viewer a sense of scale.

Prof Gemmell added, “There are eels, and there is a plausible way eel could grow bigger than normal. It’s plausible that there might be one or two that grow to extreme size – maybe 50% or more, maybe bigger than that.” He also stated, “Divers have claimed that they’ve seen eels that are as thick as their legs in the loch, whether they’re exaggerating or not – I don’t know – but there is a possibility that there are very large eels present in the loch... Our data doesn’t reveal their size, but the sheer quantity of the material says that we can’t discount the possibility that there may be giant eels in Loch Ness. Therefore, we can’t discount the possibility that what people see and believe is the Loch Ness Monster might be a giant eel.”

A more reasonable explanation is that the object in the video was a large seal. Seals are quite commonly spotted in the lake, and if there were none around at the time of the survey, it would explain why there were no traces of seal DNA. Nothing is ever straightforward when involving "Nessie" the Loch Ness Monster.

Conroy himself expressed confusion as well as surprise that the video had gained as much popularity as it did, stating, “If you look at the original post, it was a bit tongue in cheek.” He explained that it was a particularly slow day and there wasn’t much wildlife to observe. He added, “When you work on Loch Ness, you’re always thinking of the monster.”

Conroy could not believe how seriously people took the footage. “It’s very surprising, we just made a reference to the Loch Ness monster and it's amazing how seriously people take [the video]. People have dissected it!” To address a few rumors that the video was just a ploy to gain viewers, he added, “In no way were we trying to do a hoax," he said. "I think people got the wrong end of the stick."

Although it is unlikely that the legendary Loch Ness Monster is and, has always been, a giant eel, fans of Nessie should take note.

The European eel is currently critically endangered. The number of eels within Scotland have fallen over 90 percent since the early 90s due to wildlife trafficking and environmental pressure.

Andrew Kerr of the Sustainable Eel Group told the BBC that “It's the most trafficked animal by number and by value.”

If the video really shows a gigantic eel, unfortunately, there may not be many more sightings of the monster appropriately named “Nessie.”