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Abergavenny Museum has unveiled a new exhibition to celebrate the largest salmon caught in Wales. 

In 1782, a record-breaking fish was hauled from the River Usk, just a few miles downstream from County Hall, Usk. The salmon weighed 68 ½ pounds, the size of a small cow, and was approximately 1.5 metres in length! Incredibly, it was caught by two men balancing in their own coracles with a net in between. 

To commemorate the occasion, an artist started working on a painting a few hours after the extraordinary catch. For the first time, the painting is now on display alongside another larger piece of artwork at Abergavenny Museum. 

On Thursday, 25 April, Abergavenny Museum hosted a viewing for those who’ve been involved and contributed to the exhibition and project. 

Monmouthshire County Council Chair Cllr Meirion Howells, Council Leader Cllr Mary Ann Brocklesby, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and the Environment Cllr Catrin Maby, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Engagement Cllr Angela Sandles

The new exhibition is a great way to discover more about the story of this catch and the history of the River Usk. Learn more about why we don’t see as many big fish in the river now and how we can work together to help the rivers thrive. 

As part of the exhibition, you’ll hear from many passionate people about the rivers, hear their thoughts on what makes rivers unique and their vision for the future. Visitors will also have the opportunity to share their thoughts on important questions surrounding the future of our rivers. 

Monmouthshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Equalities and Engagement, Cllr Angela Sandles, said: “Having the Big Fish painting on show at Abergavenny Museum is fantastic. It allows us to celebrate this part of our rivers’ history and open up about our rivers’ future. If you have an interest in local rivers or a wider interest in local history, come along to our wonderful exhibition at Abergavenny Museum.”

A range of fascinating exhibits are displayed in the museum, and there is something for all ages. If you’re thinking of making this a family trip, you’ll be able to play salmon snakes and ladders, master a fishy jigsaw and take part in a quiz. There is also a challenge for you to leap as high as our Big Fish!

The Big Fish project will also see museum officers conduct school workshops on the history of the Big Fish, work with Welsh Water to host workshops on caring for our rivers and water quality and work with MonLife Countryside officers to host events. 

The council is committed to building on the work of protecting the rivers that flow through the county. As the Big Fish project brings a historic event to the forefront, the council will continue its commitment to protect rivers for future generations, highlighting the changes needed to reduce the impact of climate change on the rivers.

Abergavenny Museum is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 4pm.

Find out further information the museum here: